Controversy sparks before electricity flows at Kemper - - Jackson, MS

Controversy sparks before electricity flows at Kemper

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Clean coal costs. The price tag on the Kemper plant is up to nearly $5 billion.

"You can't have a 5 billion dollar project without it costing the people a lot of money down the road," said Ashby Foote who opposes the plant.

The controversy surrounding the Kemper plant has caught the nation's attention. An article appeared in the Wall Street Journal Monday. The opposition's chief concern is the economic impact.

"This is a very expensive way to make electricity. So this electricity out of the Kemper plant alone will cost anywhere will cost anywhere from 20 to 25 cents per kilowatt, when they could've built a natural gas plant that would've provided electricity for 5 cents per kilowatt," said Foote.

Mississippi Power Company's President Ed Holland maintains the results will be worth it.

"It has high up front capital costs, just like a nuclear plant does. It has extremely low energy costs. And will have extremely low energy costs over the 40 life year of the plant," explained Holland.

Foote has been concerned about the plant from the start. He Says the product won't justify the costs.

"It's going to be the same electricity that they're already getting. It's not better or more reliable. In fact, it's probably less reliable because it's so complex, the plant itself," said Foote.

Protests have already started as rates were raised to help pay for the construction.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Black Chamber of Commerce made the trip to Mississippi to give the project the seal of approval.

"It's a game changer in the industry field. You're going to see people coming from all over the world, looking at this, trying to copy the technology," NBCC President Harry Alford said during a press conference.

The chamber is throwing support behind the project, mainly because of the jobs that will be created.

The plant's opening date was originally set for may 2014. They recently announced  that it will be later in 2014.

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