Kemper's first year of operation powered one-third of customers's needs

The first year of operation at the Kemper County energy facility's combined-cycle power plant has generated enough power to meet one-third of Mississippi Power customers' electricity needs, the company said in a press release.

The plant is powered by natural gas now, and Mississippi Power is working to get the lignite portion of the plant operational by mid-2016.

Since August 2014, Kemper has generated more than 3.5 billion kilowatt hours, which the company said is enough electricity to meet the energy needs of 250,000 homes for a year.

"Not only is the plant generating power for our customers, but it is doing it in a highly efficient way," Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland said.

The combined-cycle power plant combines two gas-powered turbines with a steam turbine to make up to 50 percent more electricity from the fuel it consumes.

Kemper's plant operations are four times better than the national average, according to Mississippi Power, based on Kemper's Equivalent Forced Outage Rate, which is the industry standard used to gauge a power plant's reliability.