South Korean company signs first letter of intent to explore deployment of Kemper technology

Dec 21, 2015, 10:00 ET from Southern Company

ATLANTA, Dec. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company subsidiary Southern Generation Technologies has signed a letter of intent with South Korean company Alps Energy and Kellogg, Brown & Root, LLC (KBR) to evaluate the deployment of the company's proprietary coal gasification technology at the new, 1,000-megawatt (MW) Alps Energy power plant in the Saemangeum Industry & Research Area in South Korea. The agreement underscores the significant international interest in Transport Integrated Gasification – or TRIG – the 21st century coal technology at the center of Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility.

Jointly developed by Southern Company and KBR, TRIG is designed to generate electricity from low-rank coal with resulting carbon emissions better than a similarly sized natural gas plant. At least 65 percent of the Kemper project's carbon emissions are expected to be captured and repurposed through enhanced oil recovery, increasing domestic oil production. 

"Southern Company is committed to developing real solutions to efficiently generate electricity using all of our domestic energy resources," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "By deploying TRIG for the first time at the Kemper County energy facility, we are creating a better energy future and improving America's energy security. Our partnership with South Korea's Alps Energy is a continuation of our long-standing commitment to delivering energy solutions that can benefit customers and communities across the U.S. and around the world."

The letter of intent was announced following a visit this week to the Kemper County energy facility involving Southern Company, Alps Energy, KBR and Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency (www.saemangeum.go.kr) leadership.

"Alps is very excited to have entered into this agreement with Southern Company and KBR, who are global leaders in gasification and have successfully demonstrated fluidized bed gasifiers over many decades. We very much look forward to seeing successful initial operations of the Kemper County energy facility and to explore various opportunities to work together with the TRIG team in our landmark gasification project in Saemangeum," said Alps Group Chairman Kwang-Ouk Bang.

The 582-MW Kemper County energy facility will become the first power plant to use TRIG technology upon its anticipated completion in 2016.

"The world is coming to Kemper because the design of this plant signifies the ability for other nations to leverage one of the world's most abundant energy sources in a dramatically cleaner way," said Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland. "For Mississippi, this means more reliable, affordable energy for our customers and a cleaner environment for us all, making our state a true global leader in energy development."    

The first letter of intent to explore TRIG deployment, the agreement with Alps Energy represents the sixth agreement with a leading international energy company to explore advanced technologies including TRIG. Earlier this year, Southern Company Services and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) signed a memorandum of understanding to explore 21st century coal technology. Last year, Southern Company announced similar agreements with Shenhua Group Corporation Limited and China Huaneng Group – two of China's largest energy companies – as well as with Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute.

Beyond these agreements, Southern Company continues to receive worldwide interest in TRIG from energy companies in regions with access to abundant supplies of low-rank coal. In addition to playing an important role in the development of TRIG technology, KBR is the company's partner in licensing TRIG technology globally.

"TRIG brings a unique solution to a global challenge – how to efficiently gasify low-rank coal while helping preserve the environment," said KBR President of Technology and Consulting John Derbyshire. "Low-rank coal comprises about half of the world coal supply, and today there are no technologies apart from TRIG that can efficiently convert this coal into energy with minimal impact on the environment. We believe TRIG can help South Korea and other countries with access to low-rank coal to meet their energy challenges."  

An industry leader in robust, proprietary research and development, Southern Company has managed more than $2 billion in R&D investments since the 1960s. In addition to operating the National Carbon Capture Center, the Southern Company system's environmental R&D includes conducting the nation's largest demonstration of carbon capture on a pulverized-coal power plant at subsidiary Alabama Power's Plant Barry, as well as partnering with KBR to develop TRIG.

About Alps Group

Alps Group ("Alps"), based in Seoul, South Korea, is a leading developer of energy and commercial real estate projects.  Alps has successfully developed and owned various commercial office buildings and hotels in Korea and China since the 1980's. Alps is the owner of the Alps Ski Resort, the first ski resort of Korea, and is also the owner and developer of Goseong Alps Wind Power, a wind farm located in the vicinity of the resort, with a generation capacity of 112 megawatts, which makes it the largest single wind farm in the country. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Alps Energy, Alps is currently developing a large scale coal-gasification project in the Saemangeum Area of South Korea. When completed, the project will be the largest coal gasification complex and the largest public-private-partnership development project ever undertaken within the new and renewable energy space in South Korea.

About Southern Company

With more than 4.5 million customers and approximately 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are inventing America's energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity and designated a 2014 Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company earned the 2014 National Award of Nuclear Science and History from the National Atomic Museum Foundation for its leadership and commitment to nuclear development, and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.

Cautionary Notes Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the projected schedule for the completion of construction and start-up of Mississippi Power's Kemper integrated coal gasification combined cycle facility ("Kemper IGCC"). Southern Company and Mississippi Power caution that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company and Mississippi Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's and Mississippi Power's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities, which include the development and construction of generating facilities with designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed, including changes in labor costs and productivity, adverse weather conditions, shortages and inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, contractor or supplier delay, non-performance under construction or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, unforeseen engineering or design problems, start-up activities (including major equipment failure and system integration), and/or operational performance (including additional costs to satisfy any operational parameters ultimately adopted by the Mississippi Public Service Commission); the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses, to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; advances in technology; and the ability of counterparties of Mississippi Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required. Southern Company and Mississippi Power expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking information.

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