Mississippi Power has commenced commercial operation of the combined cycle unit at the $5.5bn Kemper County energy facility, marking a significant milestone.

The combined cycle unit, which is being touted as the most efficient form of generating electricity for large-scale power production, will address Mississippi Power customers’ energy needs during the remaining summer months.

Mississippi Power generation development vice-president John Huggins said: "This is a major success for the Kemper project, and it’s all thanks to the men and women who have worked safely and dedicated their time and hard work to make it happen."

Originally synchronised to the grid in October 2013 during testing, the unit has undergone an 11-month critical testing on its various components.

The Kemper combined cycle unit, during the testing, achieved more than 1,200 hours on-line generating power for homes and businesses.

"The project also achieved two milestones with the completion of the combined cycle unit testing and pressure testing of both gasifiers."

To date, the unit has generated enough energy to supply 23,000 homes per annum.

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Last month, the project also achieved two milestones with the completion of the combined cycle unit testing and pressure testing of both gasifiers.

Owned and operated by Mississippi Power, the power plant will feature gasifiers capable of converting lignite into synthesis gas for electricity generation.

The company is slated to heat up the first gasifier of the power plant later this year.

Located in Kemper County, Mississippi, the US, the 582MW Kemper County integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant is due to commence operation in the second quarter 2015.