Mississippi Power Kemper plant combined cycle unit starts up

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Mississippi Power said the Kemper County energy facility's combined cycle has been placed into commercial operation marking a milestone for the facility.

Putting the combined cycle unit into operation means it will be available to serve Mississippi Power customers' energy needs during the remaining summer months.

"This is a major success for the Kemper project, and it's all thanks to the men and women who have worked safely and dedicated their time and hard work to make it happen," said vice president of generation development John Huggins.

A combined cycle unit is among the most efficient forms of generating electricity for large-scale power production.

The unit was originally synchronized to the grid on October 5, 2013 during testing using natural gas as fuel. Over the past 11 months, critical testing was done on various components. The testing culminated with the combined cycle unit passing all applicable performance and environmental tests and being made available at full output for commercial operation.

During the course of the testing, the Kemper combined cycle unit logged more than 1,200 hours on line generating power for homes and businesses. To date, the Kemper combined cycle unit has generated enough energy to supply 23,000 homes for a year.

This milestone is the next in a series of milestones reached over the last two months at the Kemper County energy facility. The project already reached two major milestones last month with the testing of the combined cycle unit and pressure testing of both gasifiers.

The first gasifier heat-up is scheduled for later this year.

The gasifiers at Kemper are the core of the integrated gasification process, which will be used to convert lignite into synthesis gas. The use of Mississippi lignite adds fuel diversity at low costs and stable prices for Mississippi Power's customers.

Construction progress continues at the Kemper County energy facility which will use innovative clean coal technology to deliver safe, reliable and made-in-Mississippi electricity to Mississippi Power customers. The 582-megawatt generating facility is scheduled to begin operation in the second quarter 2015.

Mississippi Power, a unit of Southern Co., produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

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