Electric Power news briefs, December 12

Constellation Energy Group Inc. said its subsidiary Constellation Nuclear will purchase 100% of Unit 1 and 82 percent of Unit 2 of the two Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, Scriba, NY, for $737 million, net of fuel, and $815 million, including fuel. Constellation will own a total of 1,550 Mw of Nine Mile Point's 1,757 Mw of total generating capacity. Acquisition of the Nine Mile Point plants will add immediately to Constellation Energy Group's earnings and is expected to contribute about 20�/share to its merchant energy business earnings in 2002. The sale is expected to close in mid-2001 after receipt of all regulatory approvals, the company said. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. is the sole owner of Nine Mile Point Unit 1. Co-owners of Nine Mile Point Unit 2 who are selling their interests to Constellation include Niagara Mohawk, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas & Electric Corp., and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. The Long Island Power Authority, which owns 18% of Nine Mile Point Unit 2, has chosen not to sell.

The US General Services Administration (GSA), Smithsonian Institution, and Washington Gas, a unit of WGL Holdings Inc., reported a $64 million agreement to modernize and expand GSA's central heating and refrigeration plant in Washington, DC. The project will reduce operating expenses and emissions, while increasing the plant's ability to meet the chilled water needs of eight Smithsonian Institution facilities, Washington Gas reported. More than half of the initial construction cost will be recouped in less than 8 years through energy and operational savings. Washington Gas will serve as the general contractor for the project. Project construction is expected to begin in February 2001, with completion expected by June 2002.

IdaTech, a subsidiary of IdaCorp Inc., said it executed a long-term license and distribution agreement for its patented fuel cell systems with Tokyo Boeki Ltd. of Japan. Tokyo Boeki also took an undisclosed minority equity position in IdaTech and agreed to promote the IdaTech brand name in Japan. Toyko Boeki is scheduled to begin field testing 1 kw and 3 kw fuel cells for Japanese residences. The initial test systems in 2001 will operate on methanol and, possibly, other fuels.

Calpine Corp. said it is considering developing a $500 million 1,100 Mw power plant in Alameda County, Calif. Calpine has proposed interconnecting the proposed East Altamont plant into the Western Area Power Administration's transmission system. Upon completion of its licensing through the California Energy Commission, Calpine said it would begin construction in June 2002, with commercial operations beginning in June 2004.

Cinergy Corp. unit Cinergy Capital & Trading Inc. (CCT), and Enron North America, a unit of Enron Corp., reported signing a definitive agreement under which CCT will purchase Enron's 494 Mw Brownsville generation facility in Haywood County, Tenn., and the 504 Mw Caledonia generation facility in Lowndes County, Miss. The transaction is anticipated to add to Cinergy's earnings in 2001. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Avista Corp.affiliate, Avista Utilities, said it chose the 280 Mw fully licensed Coyote Springs 2 site near Boardman, Ore., as the preferred supply-side resource option and three demand-side management bids yielding about 13 Mw to meet the utility's growing needs. Construction of Coyote Springs 2 is scheduled to begin in January 2001 and completion is projected by by June 1, 2002. Under the terms of the agreements, ownership of Coyote Springs 2 will be transferred at cost to Avista Utilities from Avista Corp. subsidiary Avista Power LLC, which acquired Coyote Springs 2 in July from Enron North America and Portland General Electric Co.

The UK's Centrica PLC said it will acquire Sempra Energy's stake in Energy America, a US energy marketing firm, for about $56 million. Under the transaction, a wholly owned subsidiary of Centrica will acquire Sempra Energy's 72.5% ownership of Energy America, which has nearly 400,000 residential and small-business customers in New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Sempra Energy said it expects the sale to increase the company's 2001 earnings by about10�/share.

TNPC Inc., parent of the New Power Co., said it received its certificate as a retail natural gas marketer from the Georgia Public Service Commission. The New Power Co. will begin to serve natural gas consumers in Georgia in 2001.

Establishment of the Emirates Power Linkage Corp. has been approved by local government authorities, according to Mideast news reports, and linking of power grids in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will be completed in the first quarter of 2003. The corporation would link all power transfer networks in two phases. Sources said the projects were approved in a meeting attended by representatives from electricity authorities in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. The Gulf Cooperation Council recently approved a specialized corporation for linking power grids in the six member countries with a budget of $1.1 billion (US). The first phase of the project includes linking the power grids of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait, while the second phase includes Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the third includes the UAE and Oman, the report added.

US power giant Enron Corp. is set to increase its equity investment in India's Dabhol power project by 23.6%, from the existing $886.9 million to $1.12 billion (US). The additional $233 million would be brought in during the second phase of the 2,184 Mw project at Dabhol in southern Maharashtra. Enron has sought government approval to dilute the Maharashtra State Electricity Board�s (MSEB) shareholding in the project to below the originally planned limit of 30%. Presently, Dabhol Power Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Enron Mauritius Co., a unit of Enron Corp.

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