Electric Power news briefs, August 29

New York Power Authority ... Niagara Mohawk Corp. ... Southern Energy Inc. ... AES Corp. ... Edison Mission Energy ... Texaco Global Gas & Power ... Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand ... Banpu Public Company Ltd. ... Semco Energy Gas Co. ... American Public Energy Agency ... UtiliCorp United Inc. ... Energetix Inc. ... RGS Energy Group Inc. ... Allegheny Energy Supply ... Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. ... AmerenUE

New York Power Authority operators were preparing to remove the 800 Mw James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant from service Sunday. While the plant is out of service, workers will repair the system that regulates the flow of steam to the plant�s turbine. The system is located in the turbine generator building.The plant is expected to return to service later this week. The plant is located on the south shore of Lake Ontario at Nine Mile Point and shares the site with two nuclear plants operated by Niagara Mohawk Corp.

Southern Energy Inc., a unit of Southern Co., said it has completed the sale of its interest in Hidroelectrica Alicura, a 1,000 Mw hydroelectric plant in Argentina, to AES Corp. for $205 million. The company said the selling price releases Southern Energy from its debt obligations and allows it to buy out minority partners.

Edison Mission Energy (EME), an Edison International company, reported the commercial startup of the700 Mw, combined cycle natural gas-fired Tri Energy project in Thailand's Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok. Power from the plant is under contract to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Robert Edgell, executive vice-president of EME Asia Pacific, said the project is the first greenfield independent power plant in Thailand to have achieved commercial operation. EME owns 25% of Tri Energy. Its partners in the project are Texaco Global Gas & Power, a unit of Texaco Inc., and Banpu Public Company Ltd., each of which owns a 37.5% interest.

Semco Energy Gas Co., Port Huron, Mich., said the gas company's 3-year freeze on natural gas prices shields customers from projected increases in heating costs this year. The natural gas distribution company reduced gas prices by 6% in April 1999 and froze prices through March 31, 2002. As a result, its customers will continue to pay $3.24/mcf. Semco said it has an ample supply of natural gas to ensure continuous service throughout the heating season.

The American Public Energy Agency (APEA) has awarded Aquila Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of UtiliCorp United Inc., a long-term contract to supply natural gas to its members, the fourth contract the agency has awarded to Aquila since 1998, UtiliCorp reported. Under the new contract, Aquila will supply 154 bcf of natural gas over a 12-year period. The estimated value of the gas is $550 million. APEA supplies natural gas to municipal utilities and other public entities throughout the US.

Energetix Inc. said it is serving more than 50,000 natural gas and electricity customers double the number of customers it served just 5 months ago. Energetix Inc. is a subsidiary of RGS Energy Group Inc. and an affiliate of Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. Along with its subsidiary, Griffith Energy, Energetix supplies a portfolio of energy products, including electricity, natural gas, propane, and fuel oil to customers throughout upstate New York.

The US Department of Energy has selected Allegheny Energy Supply, a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy, Inc., for a $2.4 million research and development biomass project at its Willow Island power station, Pleasants County, W.Va. The 3-year project will adapt the181 Mw Willow Island Unit No. 2 to cofire sawdust with coal and tire-derived fuel (TDF), reducing fuel costs and nitrogen oxide emissions. The project will combine 80% coal, 10% biomass, and 10% TDF. The output will meet Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which include wind, solar, low-head hydro, landfill gas, and biomass, such as crops, trees, and other agricultural and forestry residues. Foster Wheeler Corp. has been selected as contractor, overseeing equipment installation and associated monitoring and reporting.

In preparation for a deregulated market, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. (ERCOT)�the industry coalition that administers the state's power grid serving about 85% of the state's electric load�reported construction has begun on its new 45,000 sq ft Austin facility, while an 85,000 sq ft facility in Taylor, Tex. is set for a fall groundbreaking. ERCOT said it plans to hire an additional 120-130 employees by January 2002, including individuals with legal, communications, engineering, accounting, technical, economist, analyst, and clerical backgrounds. Beginning in 2001 when a trial "mock market" is instituted, the ERCOT coverage areas will be serviced by a single control center (called the ERCOT Independent System Operator) located in Taylor. The Austin location will house executive offices and the backup center.

Ameren Corp. unit AmerenUE said damage assessments are complete, and recovery work is continuing following the Aug. 10 fire at AmerenUE's Venice plant. Cost estimates to rebuild the plant are not final. Jack Scott, Venice plant manager, said the assessment shows damage to the generation side of the plant appears to be limited to a single turbine generator and related electrical system components and controls. In addition, the fire resulted in the destruction of four large transformers. He said two of the six generating units should be in operation beginning the first week of September. AmerenUE said the blaze started when a line supplying hydraulic oil to the plant's Unit 1 turbine ruptured.

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