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Southern Co.'s Kemper project running $366M over budget
Date:15 Jun 2012
Accessibility:Subscription only, paid
The developers of a major U.S. carbon capture project confirmed yesterday that the project is running over budget, raising new questions about the financial viability of "clean coal." A spokesman for Mississippi Power, Jeff Shepard, said new company documents submitted to an independent auditor show that the project is $366 million above former cost estimates of $2.4 billion. The new cost of $2.76 billion places the project $110 million short of an official state money cap established by the Mississippi Public Service Commission. Regardless, Shepard said, "We're committed to bringing the plant online, to provide clean, safe and reliable energy for our customers." He said the company -- a subsidiary of Southern Co. -- had procured 90 percent of the necessary materials for construction. Because Kemper, as it is informally known, is the only U.S. carbon capture project on a coal plant that is actually under construction at commercial scale, it is being watched closely by the energy community. About a third of the plant has been constructed, with an operating date scheduled for 2014. "This project is globally important, because without CCS [carbon capture and sequestration], it's game over for the climate," said Kurt Waltzer, an analyst at the Clean Air Task Force.