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Mississippi Power pushes Kemper in-service date to 'late February'

Mississippi Power Co. again delayed when its controversial integrated gasification combined-cycle generation project in Kemper County will enter service, pushing the date to "late February."

The Southern Co. subsidiary had previously planned for the IGCC facility, formally known as Plant Ratcliffe, to begin commercial operation during January. In a Jan. 31 filing updating state regulators on progress at the project, Mississippi Power said it had achieved the integrated operation of both gasifiers, including the production of electricity from "syngas" derived from lignite, in both combustion turbines on Jan. 29, which has continued up through the date of the filing.

"However, Mississippi Power said it has determined that an outage of approximately one week is needed to repair and make modifications to further improve the plant's ability to achieve sustained operations sufficient to support placing the plant in service for customers," the utility stated, adding that it "now expects that the Kemper IGCC will be placed in service in late February 2017."

Mississippi Power also increased its cost estimate for Kemper by approximately $51 million, which includes $26 million for startup fuel in December along with estimated outage work and other modifications, and approximately $25 million for the schedule costs through Feb. 28. The total project cost for Kemper through December 2016 is estimated at $7.09 billion, according to the filing.