CEO Tom Fanning told Bloomberg on April 27 that the facility will begin to convert coal to gas by the third quarter; for now it is using natural gas.
Kemper has been six years in the making, and stands to be the country’s first large-scale coal gasification plant that also utilizes carbon capture.
The company is using natural gas at the plant while it prepares the switch to coal, which will be completed in the third quarter.
Kemper, which now has a price tag of $6.7 billion — far above its original plan — continues to cost its owners. Southern said late last month that it had taken a $33 million charge in the first quarter for expenses tied to project delays as well as equipment repairs at the complex.
The Bloomberg report also noted that Southern stands to see another charge of $25 million monthly if the facility does not come online by September 30. It already has missed an April 19 deadline, after which it said in 2015 it would be forced to return tax credits totaling $234 million.