Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kemper Gasification Electric Plant In Mississippi Shows What the Problem with Coal Is

It Ain't Regulation, It's Economics

The holy grail of the coal industry is to have clean burning coal.  This is rediculous.  Burning coal produces massive pollution.  But the coal industry thought they had a great idea in turning coal into natural gas.  They didn't.  Here is the saga of their adventure in Mississippi.

Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded Mississippi Power’s ratings, saying the action in part reflects the expected battle the company will have to wage to recover its costs for “the increasingly uneconomic Kemper integrated gasification combined cycle plant.”
The downgrade is on approximately $800 million of debt securities.
Moody’s began the rating review Feb. 6 after Mississippi Power again delayed the in-service date of the energy facility in Kemper County using lignite. Mississippi Power has since announced that at current low natural gas rates, the facility can operate more economically on gas than on lignite coal.

So what's the problem here? Oh, this.

Southern Co., Mississippi Power’s parent company, has contributed “substantial ongoing financial and liquidity support,” he said, but Mississippi Power’s risk profile has deteriorated as construction of Kemper continued. The plant that originally was expected to cost $2.4 billion has risen above $7 billion.
Moody’s also provided a ratings outlook for Mississippi Power:
▪  The negative outlook is based in part on whether the IGCC portion of the plant will operate at all.

See it may not use lignite coal at all because natural gas is cheaper, even though the lignite is right there on the property. So once again the idea that coal mining can be restored by relaxing regulation proves false. But not, that won't stop venal politicians from continuing to spout that nonsense. And yes, we know who you are.

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