Kemper technology receives endorsement from South Korean power company

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - As Mississippi Power customers signed up for their Kemper refunds this week, the new technology to be used at the Kemper plant picked up another international endorsement from South Korea.

A subsidiary of Southern Company, the parent company of Mississippi Power, has signed an agreement with Korea Electric Power Corporation for the companies to work together on further development of clean coal technology like that being deployed at Mississippi Power's $6 billion Kemper County energy facility.

Southern Company subsidiary Southern Company Services and KEPCO have signed a memorandum of understanding to "jointly explore the deployment of clean coal power generation and carbon capture and storage technologies" Mississippi Power said in a news release Thursday.

Mississippi Power touts the Kemper technology as "clean coal technology" that emits less carbon in the production of electricity than traditional coal burning plants.

The KEPCO agreement is the fifth agreement with a foreign energy company interested in the Kemper technology called Transport Integrated Gasification. The technology works with low grade coal, like Mississippi lignite, to produce electricity.

"This agreement with Korea recognizes the important role of advanced, low-carbon generation technologies such as TRIGTM in providing for clean and efficient power generation," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning.

Mississippi Power's Kemper plant is years behind its original schedule and billions overflow its original cost estimates. The company's most recent cost estimates for the Kemper plant of $6 billion was filed with the Mississippi Public Service Commission earlier this month.

This week, Mississippi Power customers began applying for court-ordered refunds for the rate increase the company has charged since 2013 to pay for the Kemper plant.  The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered the company to make the refunds.  Customers have until Oct. 31, to select a bill credit or refund check.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.