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Southern Company Clean Coal Project Scrutinized

Detailed look at stalled clean coal project

Southern Company’s ambitious effort in Mississippi to create a cutting edge clean coal electric generating facility is the focus of a front page report in the New York Times headlined, “A Model for ‘Clean Coal’ Goes Awry – Amid Allegations of Fraud, a $4 Billion Cost Overrun.”

Despite broad support from the utility and the Obama administration, the project in Kemper County is two years late and $4 billion over its initial $2.4 billion budget, the Times reported.

The utility released a prepared statement dismissing the article as a "negative recap."

The news story runs two full pages in the newspaper.

 

 

 

‘The plant and its owner, Southern Company, are the focus of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and ratepayers, alleging fraud, are suing the company,” the Times reported. “Members of Congress have described the project as more boondoggle than boon. The mismanagement is particularly egregious, they say, given the urgent need to rein in the largest source of dangerous emissions around the world: coal plants.

It continued: “Many problems plaguing the project were broadly known and had been occurring for years,” the article said. “But a review by The New York Times of thousands of pages of public records, previously undisclosed internal documents and emails, and 200 hours of secretly though legally recorded conversations among more than a dozen colleagues at the plant offers a detailed look at what went wrong and why.”

Southern Company in its statement said that it took $2.5 billion in charges tied to the plant, “helping ensure the project will deliver the same value to Mississippi Power customers as initially intended.”

“Southern Company is proudly inventing America’s – and the world’s – energy future through the development of the world’s most advanced coal plant… “ the company statement said. “The result of decades of robust, proprietary research and development, the Kemper project has garnered enormous support from energy leaders across the U.S. and around the world. And Mississippi Power is completing the project with an unwavering focus on safety and quality. “

 

 

Dragline with view of plant from North American Coal.

 Coal near Kemper plant. /// Mississippi Power

 

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