How Important is Kemper?

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Former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich recently said Kemper “may be the most important single experiment in developing electricity in the world today.” But is it the best for its own customers?

Mississippi News Now reports the optimism of leaders at a recent energy summit and their desire to utilize all the state’s natural resources. Governor Phil Bryant called Mississippi “a real player” in the U.S. energy market and said he wants to “push hard” to stay that way.

The article names U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the summit’s keynote speaker. He noted that developing more energy resources will lower prices and encourage more manufacturing in America. He also applauded the Kemper clean coal project:

“‘The project you have at Kemper is part of the future,’ said Gingrich. ‘This may be the most important single experiment in developing electricity in the world today. The reason’s simple. We have huge quantities of coal.'”

The article also mentions Mississippi Energy Institute president Patrick Sullivan’s reference to the quantity of natural gas going through Mississippi.

“‘Mississippi actually has more natural gas flowing in and out of the state than any other state,’ said Sullivan. ‘So the goal there would be to capture some of that and add value to it here in Mississippi in the form of manufacturing projects, rather than just being a pass through state.'”

Even though Gingrich spoke of lower prices and increased manufacturing, the high cost of Kemper has actually put an extra burden on its electricity ratepayers. Does Kemper signal a good future for them?

Would the Kemper plant better serve its customers and their local economy by utilizing this less expensive natural gas that is apparently flowing so plentifully through the state? Or is the “importance” of the Kemper experiment great enough to warrant leaving customers with higher bills?

>>Source: Jackson, Courtney Ann. “Gingrich: Kemper plant ‘Most important single experiment in developing electricity in the world today.'” Mississippi News Now. 6 Dec. 2013.

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