The Kemper County plant by Mississippi Power and the Southern Co. is putting an undue hardship on the 23 southern Mississippi counties through higher electric rates. This approximately $7 billion boondoggle will produce, if it ever actually goes online, the same power as a gas plant that might have cost only a billion dollars or less.
The experimental nature of the plant as well as mismanagement, poor quality control, etc. — exposed by Ian Urbina’s recent New York Times article “Piles of Dirty Secrets Behind a Model ‘Clean Coal’ Project” — means that some of the poorest people in the U.S. have to pay the price with higher electric rates.
The 23 counties in Mississippi Power’s area have seen anemic job growth compared with the rest of the country, partly due to these rate increases. In the affected 23 counties, there was a net loss of more than 23,600 jobs in the 30 months after April 2013, when the electrical rates were increased by about 18 percent. This is compared with what would have happened if the growth rate had been equal to the nation’s employment growth.
At best, the “clean coal” plant will keep 65 percent of the carbon sequestered. Given that NOAA has reported that this July was the warmest July on record, we don’t need more carbon being released.
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We have been blessed here in Mississippi with many things, and one we should develop for lower costs and for future generations is sustainable solar power.