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Cooperative Energy building 23 MW gas plant in Mississippi

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BENNDALE, Miss. (AP) — An electrical provider plans a $36 million natural gas-fired power plant in southeast Mississippi.

Hattiesburg-based Cooperative Energy announced plans Monday to replace an existing plant in the George County community of Benndale with a 23 MW plant.

The relatively small plant provides capacity to restart if there's a complete blackout on the grid. Many power plants need existing electricity to start generation.

Cooperative Energy generates and transmits power for its owners, 11 cooperatives in southern and western Mississippi.

Spokeswoman Sara Peterson says cooperative customers should see a "minimal" impact on bills. She says the two-unit plant will be more efficient and flexible than the existing plant, meaning Cooperative Energy may be able to sell more power into the multistate grid.

The plant is expected to start generating electricity in 2019.

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