Image courtesy of Mississippi Power Company
In a stunning but welcome announcement this morning, Mississippi Power Company - a subsidiary of the Southern Company - abandoned their proposed plans to build a 582 megawatt lignite coal plant in rural Kemper County, Mississippi.
"The more we looked at it, it just didn't make economic sense," said Andy Blackledge, Director of Corporate Communications. "With the price of solar and wind energy coming down and uncertainties about the cost and feasibility of yet-unproven carbon sequestration technologies, it was just a no-brainer."
Apparently, Mississippi Power has been quietly working with the Department of Energy for the past few months on an alternative plan to build seven new wind energy farms 25 miles off-shore in the Gulf of Mexico - a move made possible by a line item regulation change buried deep in yesterday's Executive Order by the Obama Administration to open up US coastlines for off-shore drilling - along with a state-of-the-art CSP (concentrated solar power) plant on the Kemper County site. Combined, the wind and solar plants are expected to generate 600 megawatts of electricity with none of the air quality issues associated with fossil-fuel energy generation.
"The important thing for everybody to know," added Blackledge, "is that we are withdrawing our request to the Public Service Commission for a consumer rate hike. Stimulus funds already awarded for the construction of the lignite plant along with profits from our current rate structure will be used to construct the wind and solar plants. We expect to hold rates at the current level for at least the next ten years."
Three cheers for Mississippi Power Company!!!