Mississippi Power holds groundbreaking ceremonies for new gas-fired units

Mississippi Power Company officially broke ground May 10 on two additional electric generating units at its Daniel Electric Generating Plant in Escatawpa. Public officials joining company employees at the celebration included Senator Trent Lott, Congressman Gene Taylor, and state public service commissioners George Byars and Bo Robinson. The project, estimated to cost approximately $415 million, will help meet the increasing demand for electricity in Mississippi Power’s service area.

“The strong economy of southeast Mississippi is expected to grow well into the next century,” said Kurt Brautigam, company spokesman. “Demand for electricity throughout our system has been growing at three percent a year, significantly above the national average. Adding these units will ensure that we have the ability to provide for the needs of our customers for several years.”

The two new units, called “Combined Cycle” units, will be capable of generating approximately 1,064 megawatts of electricity, and are examples of the latest and most efficient power generation technologies available. Combined cycle technology allows for the waste heat of a combustion turbine generating unit to be used to produce additional electricity, which greatly improves its efficiency. The units will be fueled by natural gas and will be fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction equipment to minimize air emissions.

Site preparation for the project actually began in early March. At its height, construction employment will be around 700 workers and, when the units come on line in 2001, they will add 31 permanent employees to Plant Daniel.

Mississippi Power decided to place the units in Jackson County because of available space at the Plant Daniel site, the suitable industrial environment and strong infrastructure in Jackson County, and the availability of natural gas delivery to the site.

“Through the years, Mississippi Power has had a strong working relationship with the area’s economic development agencies and its existing businesses,” said Brautigam. “We’re pleased that this project will help ensure available power for new businesses interested in coming to the area.”

The electrical output from the new units will double Plant Daniel’s current capacity. Overall, Mississippi Power owns approximately 2,000 megawatts of generation capacity. System peaks records were set six times in 1998, culminating in an all-time peak demand of 2,339 megawatts last July.

Mississippi Power Company serves more than 188,000 customers in 23 counties in southeast Mississippi. Mississippi Power is part of the Southern Company, which is the largest producer of electricity in the United States.