The Southern Co. says it may cost another $40 million to finish the $5 billion-plus power plant and mine it’s building in eastern Mississippi’s Kemper County.

The Atlanta-based parent of Mississippi Power Co. said Tuesday that it would set aside money in the plant’s budget to cover possible startup problems. Critics have warned the technology, which turns soft lignite coal into a gas, extracts chemicals and burns the gas to generate electricity, may not work as designed. A coal gasification plant built by Duke Energy in Edwardsport, Ind., using different technology, struggled during its startup phase.

Mississippi Power said it, and not its 186,000 customers from Meridian to the Gulf Coast, will pay the additional money.

Gulflive
1/29/14