Cheerleading squads don’t have chants with the theme “We’re getting whupped, let’s leave early.” So when an adverse outcome is obvious they either quit cheering or continue with embarrassingly inappropriate chants about the invincibility of their team. That seems to be the situation with the Southern Company’s carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project in Kemper County, Mississippi.
When combined with earlier ones, the latest delay and cost overrun recently announced by the Southern Company virtually guarantees the project will be a money loser. This is not only bad news for Southern’s stockholders (the ratepayers have, in essence, already met their deductible on this project), but also for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its cheerleaders who pointed to the uncompleted Kemper plant as the prime example of CCS’s fitness for duty.
CCS’s commercial viability is critical to the EPA rule, due to take effect in January 2015, that effectively bans new coal-fired power plants and promises to drive up energy costs. The Kemper plant and its supposedly imminent success were offered as proof that CCS was ready, even after multiple delays and cost overruns.
Though the EPA and many of its green supporters may have been yelling victory chants, the plant’s owner knew that Kemper was not a viable model on which to base this costly, anti-affordable-energy EPA power plant rule. Southern spokesman Tim Lelejdal wrote, “The Kemper County Energy Facility should not serve as a primary basis for new emissions standards impacting on all new coal-fired power plants.” Lelejdal also noted that “[t]he revised new source performance standards would essentially eliminate coal as a future generation option.”
So, it seems the quarterback knew the score. It’s too bad the cheerleaders in this game are also the referees. They’ve rigged the game against America’s leading source of reliable electric power even though cost-effective technology has cut pollution emissions dramatically over the past 30 years.