by Dr. TomBaldwin, Biloxi, MS
December 2, 2011
This blog describes the technical details and some site information on what I will call the “The Giant Mississippi Power Company Scam: The Kemper Coal Plant” in my next blog. It is designed for those who want to be well informed.
About IGCC Power: http://www.clean-energy.us/facts/igcc.htm
“A massive 582-megawatt power plant under construction about 20 mi. (32 kW) north of Meridian, Miss., will use a combination of intense heat and high pressure to convert locally abundant lignite coal into a cleaner-burning gas that is then used to produce energy. Mississippi Power Co.’s new $2.4 billion Kemper County power plant is so far on target to be completed on budget and begin operation by 2014.”
“The plant is being built on Hwy. 493 near DeKalb, Miss. It’s a rural area without much traffic. Still, project coordinators have gone to great lengths to have the least impact possible on the surrounding community. All lignite will be transported internally on the coal mine and plant site by trucks and conveyors that will not cross public roads. Natural gas will be routed to the site from the Tennessee Gas pipeline, which already exists near the property boundary.”
The Kemper County plant will use an IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) design called TRIG, developed over the last 15 years at a research facility for the Department of Energy and Southern Company in Wilsonville, Ala.
Rather than burning coal to make electricity, the IGCC process sends coal through a device called a gasifier that subjects it to high temperatures and high pressure to force a chemical reaction that creates a synthesis gas. The cleaner “syngas” is then used in a gas turbine to generate power with fewer emissions than traditional coal plants.
Unique to the TRIG process is a high-efficiency design that sends coal that is not converted to gas in the initial process back for a second round of gasification.
A multi-step process removes 90 percent of mercury, 99 percent of sulfur dioxide and 99 percent of particulate from the gas before it gets to the power generation phase. The IGCC technology also captures 65 percent of carbon dioxide, which is equal to similarly sized natural gas combined cycle plants.
The company has touted the plant as using “clean coal technology,” leading the way to lower-carbon electricity production by being one of the first in the country to provide carbon capture.
The plant will be a zero-discharge facility, meaning no processed water from it will be discharged into rivers, creeks or streams, according to the company.
Still, the plant hasn’t been applauded by environmentalists. The Mississippi Sierra Club fought the plant’s construction, claiming it is unnecessary and dirty and that it will prove costly to the utility’s ratepayers. The group believes natural gas would have been a better fuel source.
Mississippi Power does plan to pass on construction costs to its ratepayers, but it contends that the plant will be needed to meet an expected greater need for electricity by summer 2014.
By tapping Mississippi’s largely unused 4 billion-ton reserve of lignite, which is cheaper than traditional coal, the company said it can ensure reliability while avoiding highly volatile price swings for fuels such as natural gas, making it the best option for customers in the long run.
To offset construction costs, Mississippi Power has received a $270 million grant from the Department of Energy and $133 million in investment tax credits approved by the IRS provided under the National Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The company also applied for Department of Energy loan guarantees and has received an additional $279 million in IRS investment tax credits. CEG
Region: Southeast Edition | StoryID: 16922 | Published On: 9/21/2011
Where are coal-based IGCC projects operating currently? The basic IGCC concept was first successfully demonstrated at commercial scale at the pioneer Cool Water Project in Southern California from 1984 to 1989. There are currently two commercial-size, coal-based IGCC plants in the United States and two in Europe. The two U.S. projects were supported initially under the DOE’s Clean Coal Technology demonstration program, but are now operating commercially without DOE support.The 262 MWe Wabash River IGCC repowering project in Indiana started up in October 1995 and uses the E-Gas gasification technology (which was acquired by ConocoPhillips in 2003). The 250 MWe Tampa Electric Co. Polk Power Station IGCC project in Florida started up in September 1996 and is based on Texaco gasification technology (acquired by GE Energy in 2004).The first of the European IGCC plants was the NUON (formerly SEP/Demkolec) project in Buggenum, the Netherlands, using Shell gasification technology. It began operation in early 1994. The second European project, the ELCOGASproject in Puertollano, Spain, uses the Prenflo (Krupp-Uhde) gasification technology and started coal-based operations in early 1998. In 2002, Shell and Krupp-Uhde announced that henceforth their technologies would be merged and marketed as the Shell gasification technology.
2.1.1 PROJECT SITE LOCATION AND GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The Kemper County IGCC Project would be located on a site in rural southern Kemper County. Figure 2.1-1 illustrates the site. The town of De Kalb, the Kemper County seat, is located 10 miles northeast of the site, while the city of Meridian in Lauderdale County is approximately 20 miles to the south. The KemperLauderdale County line is 4 miles south of the site. The Alabama state line is approximately 23 miles east of the site.
The proposed IGCC electric generating facility would be constructed on a portion of an approximately1,650-acre undeveloped site. Figure 2.1-2 depicts the site on a USGS topographic map. Figure 2.1-3 shows the site on an aerial photograph taken during the spring of 2008. (Both figures show a small parcel along Mississippi State Highway [MS] 493 [indicated with an X] that is not part of the site.) The site consists principally of uplands; however, there are some wetlands. The former consist mostly of managed pine timberlands, large portions of which have been clear-cut, while the latter are mostly mixed hardwood forests. The site’s topography is characterized by undulating sand/clay hills, and land elevations vary from 400 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl) along a creek in the southwestern corner to 500 ft-msl in the northeastern corner. The site is characteristic of the surrounding area.
Chickasawhay Creek skirts the site’s western boundary. The site is also intersected by several intermittentcreeks. The small community of Liberty straddles MS 493 at the site’s northern boundary. The recent aerial photograph (Figure 2.1-3) also shows a cleared area in the northeastern portion of the site where Mississippi Power has constructed a water supply test well.
The major permanent facilities of the proposed IGCC power plant, including certain supporting facilities and infrastructure, would likely occupy approximately 300 to 550 acres of the 1,650-acre site. Additional site acreage would be used during construction. Other portions of the site would be used for mine-related facilities, as discussed later, and would require approximately 350 more acres, some only temporarily.