At Mississippi Power, we are diversifying our fuel portfolio by adding Mississippi Lignite to our current mix of natural gas and coal. The Kemper plant will be fueled by Mississippi lignite, an abundant, affordable natural resource that is not subject to the price volatility and transportation costs associated with other fuel sources.
With a 4-billion-ton reserve in Mississippi, utilizing lignite provides Mississippi Power with a third fuel to go along with natural gas and coal. The fuel diversity of natural gas, coal and lignite protects customers from overreliance on any one fuel.
When the project was approved, the Mississippi Public Service Commission stated that "fuel diversity matters, particularly because fuel price stability matters. The Kemper Project offers both."
Today, Mississippi Power customers are benefiting from nearly 70 percent of their electricity being fueled by natural gas due to current low prices. However, being too dependent on any one source, particularly one with such historical price spikes, leaves customers vulnerable to high bills directly associated with fuel costs.
Adding lignite as a fuel source to the company's energy mix will add even greater flexibility and control over future fuel cost because compared to natural gas, lignite is even less expensive. Our customers will reap the benefit the first day the facility begins generating electricity.
The United States has more coal than any other fuel - more, in fact, than the rest of the world combined has oil. It is the fuel that accounts for about 45 percent of the nation's electricity generation.
Coal continues to remain a low cost and less volatile-priced fuel source than others. However, rising transportation costs (rail and shipping) tied to the price of diesel have also increased the cost of using coal. The Kemper County energy facility provides additional stability and savings by tapping Mississippi's 4-billion-ton reserve of low-cost lignite and using a mine-mouth operation which avoids transportation costs.