Clean coal power plant faces new legal hurdle

May 1, 2012

An environmental group has filed an appeal to once again stop construction of a $2.88 billion integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant in Kemper County, Miss.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission voted 2-1 on April 24 to reissue a certificate for Mississippi Power, a unit of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), to build the 582 MW Kemper County plant. The Sierra Club appealed the PSC’s ruling to the state Supreme Court on April 27, according to Reuters.

The environmental group’s filing reportedly described the commission’s latest order as “abandoning many of its previous finding from the 2010 Kemper orders, and substituting new and contradictory ones geared at supporting approval of the Kemper project,” the article said.

Sierra Club successfully appealed the earlier Kemper certificate at the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court then ruled in March that regulators did not fully explain why they had to raise a cost cap on the plant from $2.4 billion to $2.88 billion.

 

HERE

Government proposes first carbon limits on power plants

I wonder if Southern Company was the company singing the praises of the new EPA regulations.  Southern Company through Mississippi Power’s new demonstration lignite coal plant in Kemper County, Mississippi will be voluntarily participating in the proposed EPA CO2 regulations and plays an pro-active roll in helping the EPA gain the numbers needed to implement the new regulations.

 

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON | Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:19pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new U.S. power plants, a move hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal would effectively stop the building of most new coal-fired plants in an industry that is moving rapidly to more natural gas. But the rules will not regulate existing power plants, the source of one third of U.S. emissions, and will not apply to any plants that start construction over the next 12 months.

The watering down of the proposal led some ardent environmentalists to criticize its loopholes, but a power company that has taken steps to cut emissions praised the rules.

While the proposal does not dictate which fuels a plant can burn, it requires any new coal plants to use costly technology to capture and store the emissions underground. Any new coal-fired plants would have to halve carbon dioxide emissions to match those of gas plants.

“We’re putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can’t leave to our kids and grandkids,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters in a teleconference.

Jackson could not say whether the standards, which will go through a public comment period, would be finalized before the November 6 election. If they are not, they could be more easily overturned if Obama lost.

Republicans say a slew of EPA clean air measures will drive up power costs but have had little success in trying to stop them in Congress. Industries have turned to the courts to slow down the EPA’s program.

Some Democrats from energy-intensive states also complained. “The overreaching that EPA continues to do is going to create a tremendous burden and hardship on the families and people of America,” said Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.

REGULATORY CERTAINTY

The EPA’s overall clean-air efforts have divided the power industry between companies that have moved toward cleaner energy, such as Exelon and NextEra, and those that generate most of their power from coal, such as Southern Co and American Electric Power.

Ralph Izzo, the chairman and CEO of PSEG, a utility that has invested in cleaner burning energy, said the rules provide a logical framework to confront the emissions. The rules provide the industry with “much needed regulatory certainty,” that is needed to help guide future multi-billion dollar investments in the U.S. power grid, he added.

Under the new standards, coal plants could add equipment to capture and bury underground for permanent storage their carbon emissions. The rules give utilities time to get those systems running, by requiring they average the emissions cuts over 30 years. Still, the coal-burning industry says that carbon capture and storage, known as CCS, is not yet commercially available.

Jackson said the EPA believes the technology will be ready soon. “Every model that we’ve seen shows that technology as it develops will become commercially available certainly within the next 10 years”.

The National Mining Association said the rules can only hurt industry. “This proposal is the latest convoy in EPA’s regulatory train wreck that is rolling across America, crushing jobs and arresting our economic recovery at every stop

The portion of U.S. electricity fired by coal has slipped from about 50 percent to 45 percent in the last few years as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other drilling techniques have allowed access to vast new U.S. natural gas supplies.

NO PLAN FOR EXISTING PLANTS

The EPA is the main tool President Barack Obama has left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which he pledged at an international climate meeting to cut by about 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

But the agency’s moves are also met by challenges by industry in the courts and have been under withering criticism from Republicans, who have made environmental regulations a big campaign theme ahead of the November 6 elections.

Environmentalists are part of Obama’s base and the administration has tried to walk a tightrope with its “all of the above” energy strategy that includes tougher energy regulations and support for renewable energy, while also supporting drilling for oil and gas.

Greens who were stung by Obama’s decision last September to delay a major smog rule, mostly cheered the EPA on Tuesday.

“The bottom line for our country is that cleaner power will cut harmful carbon dioxide pollution, protect our children and help secure a safe prosperous future,” said Vickie Patton, the general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund.

But others bemoaned a concession to industry that left existing plants without limits. The EPA’s Jackson said the agency has no current plans to issue rules on those plants, which backers of climate action say are essential to tackle climate change.

Obama “should stand by EPA Administrator Jackson and her team as they push corporate polluters to reduce the CO2 spewing from smokestacks today,” said Kyle Ash of Greenpeace.

An industry analyst said the proposal gives power companies a break as the rules would not regulate the existing plants subject to other EPA rules on mercury and other emissions. “We think this is very reassuring news to an industry on the cusp of investing billions to meet,” those other limits, said Christine Tezak, an energy policy analyst at R.W. Baird & Co.

“Moving forward, it will be important for EPA to address carbon emissions for existing power plants as well,” said Kevin Kennedy, the U.S. climate director at the research group World Resources Institute. “Existing plants represent a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

Original post Here

Our Victory Against the Mississippi Power’s Kemper Coal Plant Retruns to PSC For Re-Evaluation

It is a happy day to see that the Kemper County Demonstration Lignite Coal Plant is being reevaluated by the PSC per court reversal.  It will be interesting to see how Leonard Bentz and Lynne Posey explain the public value in carbon dioxide capturing, transport, and storage to the Mississippi ratepayer.

In the wake of the latest exposure of the United Nations fraudulent global warming science, the Sustainable Development plans is no doubt  at risk as well.  In order to substantiate the need to capture carbon dioxide the three Mississippi Public Service Commissioners will need to prove the science behind the Kyoto Protocols of the United Nations. Southern Company is voluntarily following the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocols to implement their Agenda 21  to reduce energy usage via excessive energy costs.  This was clearly to be an experiment of behavior modification.

We need to celebrate and get right back to work because Kemper County Coal plant is moving forward and will surely work with the Obama administration and Steven Chu to find any loop-hole to keep the money pit going on the backs of the people. I say pull the plug.

Presley Issues Statement on Kemper County Coal Plant

March 16, 2012

Today Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s reversal of  Mississippi Power Company’s Kemper County Coal Plant:

Today’s 9-0 decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court reversing the $2.8 billion Kemper County Coal Plant is a major victory for each and every customer of Mississippi Power Company and deals a serious blow to the company’s corporate socialism.

In this case, Mississippi Power Company gave new meaning to the phrase “We got the gold mine, they got the shaft”.

I’ve argued consistently that customers of Mississippi Power Company have been mistreated by the company hiding rate impacts in this case and by putting their shareholders above their customers.

This plant is untried technology. The shareholders have no risks while the customers have all the risks along with a 45% rate hike to boot. The company also wanted to raise rates before the plant produced any electricity. I believe in “pay as you go”, I just don’t believe you should pay BEFORE you go.

I personally wrote multi-page dissents in this case and am pleased today to see that those arguments were not in vain.

This $2.8 billion case comes back now to the commission for further review.

Mississippi Kemper coal Power PSCs Failed to Satisfy State Law Now Will Face More Exposure

The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that approved construction of Southern Co’s USD 2.8 billion coal gasification project in Kemper County, Mississippi.

In a 9-0 voter, the state supreme court said the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s May 2010 approval of the project failed to satisfy state law and sent the case back to the PSC.

Source – Reuters

(www.steelguru.com)

Mississippi Public Service Commissioners About to Be Exposed For Corruption On Kemper Power Plant

This is an example of corruption being, “above the law.”  The Mississippi Public Service Commissioners will not be able to provide proof that this plant is of public convenience and necessity because 1. It is experimental and is using unproven technology on a commercial scale. 2. Carbon capturing provides no benefit to the public and the ratepayers should not be required to pay for it, ever.

Would love to see them try to prove either one of these 2 issues.  It is illegal to gamble ratepayers’ money for a risky scam of carbon capture that fails to provide a public benefit nor is it the most cost effective.

 

The Mississippi Power will keep building Kemper County

Posted: Mar 16, 2012 3:12 PM CDT Updated: Mar 16, 2012 3:12 PM CDT

By Brad Kessie, News Director – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Mississippi Power will keep building its new Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle facility, despite a ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court to send the certification process back to the Public Service Commission.

“We are confident there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Commission’s approval of the Certificate,” said Jeff Shepard, company spokesman.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling said the PSC didn’t provide details as to how it reached the decision it did.  That decision approved the certificate of public convenience and necessity Mississippi Power needed to build its Kemper County facility.

The Sierra Club appealed the PSC ruling to the Supreme Court, hoping to derail the $2.7 billion power plant, now under construction in Kemper County’s Liberty community. The environmental group argued the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out its reasoning clearly when it eased the financial terms under which Mississippi Power Co. could build what it calls Plant Ratcliffe.

Mississippi Power officials expect the PSC to rule on its behalf again.  “It is our hope and expectation that the Commission will address this expeditiously. We intend to continue construction of this facility to provide our customers with a sound energy future and unlock the facility’s substantial customer benefits,” Shepard said.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Sierra Club took $26 million from natural gas lobby to battle Mississippi Power’s Lignite Coal Plant

This battle has more to do with the destruction of America’s economy and energy than the environmental issues of coal. This is Sustainable Development through the United Nations  and will be the end of America IF we don’t stop it.  The first step is for us to learn more about it and see for yourself, know for yourself, then decide what action you can do.

Start here.   http://www.freedomadvocates.org/

Sierra Club took $26 million from natural gas lobby to battle coal industry

12:45 AM 02/04/2012

A Time magazine blogger reported Thursday that the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and most august environmental organization, accepted millions of dollars in donations from one of the nation’s biggest natural gas-drilling companies for a program lambasting coal-fired power plants as environmental evildoers.

The total take for John Muir’s conservation group? A whopping $26 million over four years from Chesapeake Energy and its subsidiaries, mostly through Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon.

The news rocked the environmental movement, sent the Sierra Club headlong into explanation mode, angered coal companies that the organization targeted with natural gas money, and had free-market advocates shaking their heads.

The episode “raises concerns about influence industry may have had on the Sierra Club’s independence and its support of natural gas in the past,” wrote Time’s Bryan Walsh.

The Daily Caller asked Chesapeake Energy spokesman Jim Gipson whether his company’s donations were made with the expectation that the Sierra Club would attack the coal industry, and whether the company has subsidized other green groups that oppose generating electricity by burning coal. Gipson did not respond to the email.

The Sierra Club launched its “Beyond Coal” campaign in 2001 on a shoestring budget, aiming to shut down as many coal-fired power plants as it could. McClendon’s money appears to have helped that campaign during a critical time when it was firing on all cylinders, lobbying against new power plant construction and working to close existing facilities, all the while hammering clean-coal advocates and blaming “big coal” for mercury pollution, asthma and assorted unforgivable ecological sins.

In 2007, the natural gas industry was also engaged in trying to persuade the federal government that its product was a more environmentally benign alternative to coal. Having the Sierra Club as a compatriot didn’t hurt.

“Back in 2007,” Gipson told Time, “Chesapeake and the Sierra Club had a shared interest in moving our nation toward a clean energy future based on the expanded use of natural gas, especially in the power sector.”

The company made its Faustian bargain with the Sierra Club’s then-leader Carl Pope, whose replacement Michael Brune put an end to it more than a year ago and refused an additional $30 million of Chesapeake’s money. The green group likely found that bitter financial pill easy enough to swallow, however, after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $50 million from his personal philanthropy in July 2011 for the anti-coal program.

On the Sierra Club’s blog Thursday, Brune explained his organization’s past lapse of judgment, saying “[t]he idea was that we shared at least one common purpose — to move our country away from dirty coal.”

But that was then. When the Chesapeake dollars began flowing five years ago, the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking,” in industry-speak — had not yet become the environmental movement’s bête noire.

Now, Brune quickly added, “It’s time to stop thinking of natural gas as a ‘kinder, gentler’ energy source.”

A Charleston, West Virginia-based business newspaper reported that a Friday morning meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association ended with a new accusation of undue influence by natural gas industry insiders.

Kentucky Coal Association president Bill Bissett told the meeting that Chesapeake has also funded the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Initiative. The result, he said, is that the lung health group has attacked the coal and oil lobbies while leaving the natural gas industry alone.

Scott Rotruck, Chesapeake’s vice president of corporate development and state government relations, holds a seat on the American Lung Association’s board. The association’s Clean Air Initiative website currently features a large Chesapeake Energy logo and describes a $500,000 matching-gift pledge by the company.

Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Chris Horner told TheDC that the natural gas industry’s financial support “apparently dictated, as opposed to followed,” the Sierra Club’s advocacy work.

“Here we see the group being paid so much money I have no idea how they could possibly spend it all, to tout gas, block — according to their own boasts — more than 100 coal plants and now force closure of many existing plants. Only to no longer receive support and coincidentally find gas to be a very, very bad thing. Huh.”

Food and Water Watch, another environmental group with a strong position against natural-gas fracking, declined to comment.

Ron Arnold, the executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, told TheDC that the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign is a divide-and-conquer tactic to convince electric utilities to use natural gas instead of coal. But by 2010, he said, with the Sierra Club nearing its goal of making coal-derived power production burdensome and prohibitively expensive, “it backed out of the gas deal and suddenly refused to take any more dirty money.”

“How long will the Sierra Club’s grassroots members put up with this?” Arnold asked.

National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich was livid Friday, blasting the Sierra Club for “both its hypocrisy and its incompetence.”

“[I]ts support for gas as the bridge fuel has ironically dampened investment in renewable energy which the Club claims to support,” Popovich told the Platts energy newswire. “With friends like the Sierra Club, the renewable energy industry doesn’t need any enemies.”

At the helm of a crisis of confidence, the Sierra Club’s Brune may find himself with a shrinking pool of allies after President Obama fondly name-checked natural gas in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years,” Obama said, “and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.”

“Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. … The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/04/sierra-club-took-26-million-from-natural-gas-lobby-to-battle-coal-industry/#ixzz1lfqTeXVX

U.S. Government Projections for Mississippi Power, Southern Company

In 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that coal would drop to 44% of America’s electrical generation by 2035. Actual generation dropped to that level in 2011.

This week, the agency again adjusted its long-term figures for coal in the U.S., projecting that generation will fall to 39% by 2035. But groups on the front lines of fighting coal plants say those figures are still far too conservative.

Due to a combination of cheap natural gas, higher coal prices, increasingly cost-competitive renewable energy, and an aggressive community of activists working to prevent the build of new coal plants, the coal sector is facing an unprecedented decline in generation. At least, that’s what leaders of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign are saying.

“The pipeline has essentially dried up,” said Bruce Nilles, the senior director of the Beyond Coal campaign, to Climate Progress. “Our view is that the rush is almost over.”

Here are some of the top indicators for coal’s future that Sierra Club pointed to after this week’s release of the EIA’s figures:

  • At least 33,000 megawatts worth of existing coal-fired power plants are expected to retire in the coming decades, not including any retirements due to the recently-finalized mercury and air toxics standard from the Environmental Protection Agency. For reference, an average-sized coal-burning power plant is approximately 500 megawatts.
  • The biggest difference from last year’s EIA projection is that more coal retirements will be driven by rising coal prices, state renewable energy standards and EPA clean air standards. All these signs point to reduced market share for coal and expanded market share for clean energy.
  • No new coal plants are predicted to be constructed in the time period, beyond those few that are already under construction.
  • The share of electricity production from clean energy sources (including hydropower and biomass) should increase from 10 to 16 percent during the time period.
  • Overall electricity demand growth is expected to remain below one percent annually.

Certainly, the outlook for coal isn’t good. But there’s a common misconception that coal is completely dead.

A look at the pipeline for projects in the top chart shows that there are still a fair amount of projects underway. EIA projects the portfolio of plants in various stages of development will actually increase coal generation after 2015.

But the EIA reference case assumes no change to existing policy — meaning it doesn’t factor in a price on carbon or any upcoming Environmental Protection Agency standards for power plant emissions. The combination of those two policies could dramatically change the prospects for coal.

“I’d say that coal is on the ropes,” says Nilles. “Many of the plants you see in development are rural electric cooperatives and municipal projects — no merchant projects because of sticker shock. Our view is that the rush is basically over.”

There’s one other factor being ignored by current conservative analysis: the dramatic changes in cost of renewable energy versus the increase in cost for constructing coal plants. For example, In Mississippi, the $2.4 billion, 500-MW Kemper County coal plant is expected to raise rates by more than 45% — increasing the average monthly bill by roughly $60.

Compare that to the stunning drop in the price and installed cost of solar technologies. According to some estimates, the changing economics for coal plants — assuming a new one actually gets built — makes the resource less competitive than solar photovoltaics in many areas of the country over the next few years.  HERE

SEISMIC ACTIVITY INDUCED BY THE INJECTION OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE AQUIFERS

Ohio earthquake has brought more uncertainty to the Mississippi CO2 sequestration, the underground storage of CO2. When will the public demand answers and action.   Keep in mind that CO2 sequestration was initially developed as a result of United Nations meetings, when it was thought that CO2 was a poisonous gas that needed to be contained to prevent the end  of Earth and all its inhabitants due to global warming cooking us all.  We now know that the science behind the whack-o global warming scare was falsified  and a new group of independent scientist with credibility have demonstrated just the opposite. HERE  THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING CAUSED BY MAN.

ISSUES RELATED TO SEISMIC ACTIVITY INDUCED BY THE INJECTION
OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE AQUIFERS

Abstract
Case studies, theory, regulation, and special considerations regarding the disposal of carbon
dioxide (CO2) into deep saline aquifers were investigated to assess the potential for induced
seismic activity. Formations capable of accepting large volumes of CO2 make deep well injection
of CO2 an attractive option. While seismic implications must be considered for injection
facilities, induced seismic activity may be prevented through proper siting, installation, operation,
and monitoring. Instances of induced seismic activity have been documented at hazardous waste
disposal wells, oil fields, and other sites. Induced seismic activity usually occurs along
previously faulted rocks and may be investigated by analyzing the stress conditions at depth.
Seismic events are unlikely to occur due to injection in porous rocks unless very high injection
pressures cause hydraulic fracturing. Injection wells in the United States are regulated through
the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program. UIC guidance requires an injection facility to
perform extensive characterization, testing, and monitoring. Special considerations related to the
properties of CO2 may have seismic ramifications to a deep well injection facility. Supercritical
CO2 liquid is less dense than water and may cause density-driven stress conditions at depth or
interact with formation water and rocks, causing a reduction in permeability and pressure buildup
leading to seismic activity. Structural compatibility, historical seismic activity, cases of seismic
activity triggered by deep well injection, and formation capacity were considered in evaluating
the regional seismic suitability in the United States. Regions in the central, midwestern, and
southeastern United States appear best suited for deep well injection. In Ohio, substantial deep
well injection at a waste disposal facility has not caused seismic events in a seismically active
area. Current technology provides effective tools for investigating and preventing induced
seismic activity. More research is recommended on developing site selection criteria and
operational constraints for CO2 storage sites near zones of seismic concerns.

More can be read here http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings/01/carbon_seq/p37.pdf

Other related story HERE

Leonard Bentz says The whole (Mississippi Power Coal Plant) story is not getting told

Commentary: Big questions for Kemper County coal plant come down to who knew what and when

MBJ Staff

In May of 2010 we wrote, “For better or worse, the economic future for the next 40 years in southeastern Mississippi will be greatly impacted by the decision of Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz. “

Justices with the Mississippi Supreme Court may be asking now how he came to his decision when he changed his vote from no to yes in a rehearing to approve the $2.8-billion Mississippi Power Company Kemper County coal plant.

Bentz and Lynn Posey have been for the project all along while Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley has steadfastly been against Kemper, calling it, among other things, “Corporate Socialism. “

However, Bentz has had questions before, particularly concerning rate impacts, which Mississippi Power has never fully disclosed.

“The whole story is not getting told,” Bentz told the Mississippi Business Journal prior to the second vote of the PSC. “It is frustrating. I want to build this plant, but I want everybody to know exactly what is going to happen when we build this plant. I have to look Gulf Coast residents in the eye and tell them I did everything I could to get the information on the table. “

Yet, the entire story has not been told, and Bentz voted for the plant after publicly questioning its validity a year and half ago.

This case is before the Supreme Court because of the Sierra Club, which is trying to stop the construction of the plant already underway near Liberty. Sierra argues that the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out a clear reason for easing financial terms in its second vote.

“I did not see and still do not find anywhere where the commission explained to the court why this was now not too risky,” said Associate Justice Randy “Bubba” Pierce. “I want to know what happened between April 29 and May 26. What additional facts were submitted to the record?”

That’s a great question for Bentz, who is on the record saying, “The whole story is not getting told. “

There are two more questions that should be asked.

Is the plant needed?

Will it work?

First, the plant is not needed, because Mississippi Power can supply energy to South Mississippi with natural gas, which the MBJ has reported will be less expensive over a 30 year period than the energy supplied at Kemper.

Second, in an editorial board meeting with Mississippi Power executives and its construction experts, they were not completely secure in the ability of the Kemper technology to work.

We asked if they could guarantee the technology would work when they flipped the switch for the first time at Kemper.

The answer, after a long pause, was no.

With that information, how could the PSC vote for, what amounts to, a $2.88 billion tax on the people of South Mississippi for energy that can gotten elsewhere — and for less money?

We suspect Mississippi’s Supreme Court will ask those question when all is said and done, and maybe, just maybe Bentz or someone will tell the rest of the story.

(here)

Mississippi High Court Justices Seek Reasons why PSC Reversed Itself to allow Kemper Co. Coal Plant

JACKSON, Miss. — Three Mississippi Supreme Court justices asked repeatedly Wednesday where the state Public Service Commission laid out its reasoning when it modified its decision to allow the construction of a Kemper County power plant last year.

The Sierra Club is trying to get the Supreme Court to derail the $2.7 billion power plant, now under construction in Kemper County’s Liberty community. The environmental group argues the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out its reasoning clearly when it eased the financial terms under which Mississippi Power Co. could build what it calls Plant Ratcliffe.

A lawyer for Mississippi Power said the commission didn’t have to provide such reasoning, though. He said judges could find reasons to support the decision in the 30,000-plus pages of testimony and records submitted as part of the appeal.

Mississippi Power says rates will go up about 33 percent to pay for the plant. However, Sierra Club lawyer Robert Wiygul told the court Wednesday that confidential documents he has reviewed show rates would rise as much as 45 percent. The Mississippi Business Journal reported the same amount in August 2010, citing documents obtained through a public records request.

A unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co., Mississippi Power would buy lignite mined nearby, turn it into a synthetic gas, and burn the gas, capturing byproducts such as carbon dioxide and selling them. The technology is supposed to allow coal to be burned more cleanly and cut emissions of carbon dioxide, which scientists say contribute to global warming. Mississippi Power says the plant is needed to provide more electricity for its 193,000 customers scattered from Meridian to the Gulf Coast.

The Sierra Club opposes the project, saying that the technology behind the plant is unproven and that it’s undesirable under any circumstances to build new coal mines and new coal-fired power plants. The environmental group says it would be cheaper for Mississippi Power to build a natural gas plant or buy power from independent natural gas generators.

“The law requires the Public Service Commission to choose the cheapest and most reliable technology and power plant,” Louie Miller, executive director of the Mississippi Sierra Club, said at a pre-hearing news conference. “This is neither.”

The PSC originally voted in April 2010 to cap at $2.4 billion the amount that Mississippi Power could charge ratepayers for the plant. The company is also getting about $300 million in federal assistance. Commissioners also said the power company couldn’t charge ratepayers for the plant before it started operation.

Mississippi Power said it couldn’t build under those conditions and asked the PSC to reconsider.  (Previously suggested most corrupt in MS) Lawyer Ben Stone  said Wednesday that it needed wiggle room for cost overruns, and wanted to charge ratepayers early to cut the interest customers would pay on money borrowed for the project.

"Uncle Ben Stone", Haley Barbour, and Steven Palazzo

"Uncle Ben Stone", Haley Barbour, and Steven Palazzo

“We could not go to the financial markets without some relief in both of those areas and finance the plant,” Stone said.

If this scheme had any merit it could have found investors.  With a negative credit score and historical pattern of Lignite Coal plant failure, Investors know Mississippi Power and Southern Company’s Kemper Coal Plant is a money pit with no intention of making money. It will be fined, regulated with fees, and taxed right out of any possible profits.  Among other costs to run problems they will encounter.  The profit comes in when MS power can charge a percent of its overall costs to the ratepayers.  Criminal and truly un-American, isn’t it? 

 A month later, commissioners voted 2-1 to give Mississippi Power what it wanted, raising the cost cap by 20 percent, to $2.88 billion. The commission must still agree that company spending is “prudent” for it to collect any money, even below $2.4 billion. It also allowed Mississippi Power to start charging before the plant’s scheduled start in 2014. Under state law, Mississippi Power can keep the money even if the plant is never completed.

It is not prudent to charge ratepayers for an experimental CO2 capturing mechanism that fails to produce any electricity, and  is founded on global warming science fraud, and a cap-and-trade system not yet in adopted. 

The key issue in Wednesday’s case is not whether the plant is a good idea, but whether the PSC adequately laid out its rationale for what Miller labeled a “flip-flop” by commissioners Leonard Bentz and Lynn Posey, who voted for the amended conditions.

The Sierra Club said the PSC didn’t adequately explain. “That’s going to require some evidence you can see and really get your arms around,” Wiygul said.

He said judges shouldn’t have to pick and choose reasons from the overflow of material submitted with the appeal, and the three justices sitting Wednesday seemed sympathetic to that argument.

“I did not see and still do not find anywhere where the commission explained to the court why this was now not too risky,” said Associate Justice Randy “Bubba” Pierce. “I want to know what happened between April 29 and May 26. What additional facts were submitted to the record?”

Stone said the new facts were contained in Mississippi Power’s motion to reconsider and its post-hearing briefs. “It’s very obvious to us that all those matters are supported,” he told the justices.

More importantly, though, he said the PSC was not required to summarize its reasoning for court review. Stone said that a prior court case says that as long as the court can find the reasoning in the record leading to the decision, the court must let the PSC’s decision stand.

JEFF AMY  Associated Press

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