Duke Energy cancels construction of three power plants in western US

Duke Energy North America (DENA) has deferred plans to construct three natural gas-fueled power plants that would have supplied 2,420 Mw of power to states in the western US.

Sep 23rd, 2002

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Sept. 23 -- Duke Energy North America (DENA) has deferred plans to construct three natural gas-fueled power plants that would have supplied 2,420 Mw of power to states in the western US. DENA cited "the decline of the wholesale energy market" in that part of the country as the reasoning behind its decision. The plans will remain deferred "until market conditions and demand for additional generation in the region improves," DENA said.

DENA, a unit of Charlotte, NC-based Duke Energy Corp., stated that the plants were originally scheduled to come online in 2003. The facilities include the 620 Mw Grays Harbor plant in Grays Harbor County, Wash., the 1,200 Mw Moapa plant in Clark County, Nev., and the 600 Mw Deming plant in Luna County, NM.

DENA said it would continue with construction plans, however, for the 620 Mw Fayette plant in Fayette County, Pa., and the 1,240 Mw Hanging Rock plant in Lawrence County, Ohio. Both of these facilities are slated to begin commercial operations in 2003.

Work on both the Grays Harbor and Deming facilities had already been temporarily halted in August, while construction on the Moapa plant had been "slowed," DENA said, adding that the company would maintain "minimum staffing" at the plants to oversee equipment already in place and for security purposes.

"As forward wholesale markets change in a region, we sharpen our focus on optimizing the operation and value of our existing assets and carefully evaluate construction of new facilities," said Jim Donnell, DENA president and CEO. "The western market has seen a dramatic decline in the economics of bringing any new generation on line for summer 2003. . .," Donnell added.

Donnell noted that the Duke unit would continue to evaluate the power market in the western US before reestablishing a construction schedule. "At this time," he said, "it would be inappropriate to speculate when that decision will be made."

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