"High-Tech Power Plant Is $5 Billion Bet on Future of Coal"

"DE KALB, Miss. — Looming like a spaceship over pine and sweet-gum forest, the high-tech power plant under construction in rural Kemper County is a $5 billion wager on an energy future that includes coal.

The Kemper plant is scheduled to open this year as the first in the United States to ramp up technology to remove carbon dioxide emissions on a large scale. If it works as planned, up to 65 percent of the plant's potential carbon dioxide emissions would be removed, significantly more than the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed requirement of about 40 percent.

But if its progress is any indication, building a coal plant that can sharply reduce greenhouse gas pollution is a white-knuckle ride. The project is five months behind schedule and more than $2 billion over budget. The cost overruns have increased electricity bills in southeast Mississippi and contributed to a downgrade in the credit rating outlook for Southern Co., the plant's parent corporation."

Neela Banerjee reports for the Tribune Washington Bureau March 17, 2014.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014