Mississippi: Clean coal tech hits snags

From: The Washington Post/Concord Monitor

Intended showcase of power supply’s future more than a year behind schedule 

By STEVEN MUFSON/Washington Post

Intended showcase of power supply’s future more than a year behind schedule 

  • Cranes stand at the construction site for Southern Co.’s Kemper County power plant near Meridian, Mississippi, on Feb. 25. The Kemper plant was designed to capture most of its CO2 emissions. Illustrates CLEAN-COAL (category f), by Steven Mufson © 2014, The Washington Post. Moved Saturday, May 17, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg News photo by Gary Tramontina)

Last November, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz rode an elevator to the top of the 11-story scaffolding surrounding Southern Co.’s new coal-fired power plant in Kemper County and gazed out over the Mississippi flatlands. Below him lay a new lignite coal mine, new storage facilities and a maze of steel.

The beauty of it all was this: Sixty-five percent of the plant’s carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas released by all coal-fired power plants, would be captured, carried through a 62-mile-long pipeline and injected into old oil reservoirs to boost output of precious crude. The carbon dioxide would remain buried in the ground, where it would not contribute to climate change. That would make this the first U.S. power plant designed to include commercial carbon-capture technology.

“The risks of global warming and climate change are very real, and we are experiencing the impacts already,” Moniz said later to a gathering of notables that included Mississippi’s governor and Norway’s petroleum minister. “I consider seeing this plant a look at the future.”

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