U.S. Energy Secretary tours Kemper plant - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

U.S. Energy Secretary tours Kemper plant

KEMPER COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There weren't many mentions of the rising costs or controversy at the Kemper plant Friday. Instead, officials had a long list of things they wanted to brag about.

Representatives from nearly a dozen countries traveled to Kemper County, Mississippi. It was the last stop in their Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.

After a safety briefing complete with hard hats, the company's CEO explained what they'll use to generate the power.

"Taking an abundant natural resource. Lignite represents over half of the coal reserves in the world," said Mississippi Power President and CEO Ed Holland. "Four billion tons of that lignite is located in Mississippi."

Governor Phil Bryant says the state is setting an example with the massive project.

"We will not know defeat in Mississippi," said Governor Bryant. "We will be victorious in our energy policies and it is starting here and it will continue."

The U.S. Energy Secretary was up front for the tour of what he says could be a model when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.

"It's a plant of the future," said Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz. "We're going to need not 10 maybe 100 more of these plants across the country in the future."

It's not as much the electricity but the byproducts that this group was interested to learn more about. They'll be able to capture carbon and use it for enhanced oil recovery.

But it's pricey. The plant's cost rose from $2.4 to $5 billion. Residents are now paying higher rates to help cover it.

"Any new plant brought onto the system I think typically have had even larger rate impacts. So my understanding is that the rate impact here is certainly nothing unusual for any major power plant," said Moniz.

The plant opens in late 2014.

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