Electric Power news briefs, July 14

TXU Europe ... Stadtwerke Kiel ... Taiwan Synthetic Rubber Corp. ... ENI SPA .. GALP ... Bethlehem Steel Corp. ... Conectiv Energy Supply Inc. ... Detroit Edison Co. ... Itron Inc. ... Sempra Energy Solutions ... Energy America ... Titan Energy ... Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. ... Arch Coal Inc. ... FuelCell Energy Inc. ... Comisi�n Reguladora de Energ�... Ispat International .. Toys 'R' Us Inc. ... Service Resources Inc.


TXU Europe, a unit of TXU Corp, Dallas, said it has received approval to acquire a 51% stake of German municipal utility Stadtwerke Kiel (SWK) for $215 million. This followed a unanimous vote in favor of the deal by the state capital Kiel Parliament. SWK has about 250,000 gas and electric customers, 175 Mw of net generating capacity, and 27 bcf of gas storage capacity. Alan Wyatt, senior vice-president at TXU Europe, said the SWK partnership complements TXU Europe's energy trading activity, begun when the markets first began to deregulate in Germany.

Taiwan Synthetic Rubber Corp. (TSRC) said it will enter into a joint venture with an as yet unidentified partner to build a 450 Mw cogeneration plant at the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park. The facility will be TSRC's second natural gas-fueled cogeneration plant in the park. The first, operated by Hsin Yu Energy Development Co. Ltd, began commercial operation in March of this year with a capacity of 150 Mw. TSRC is also working on a plan to set up a third natural gas-fired plant at the park.

Italy's ENI SPA said it paid 964 million euros to acquire a 33.34% stake in the Portuguese energy company Galp Petroleos e Gas de Portugal (GALP). ENI acquired an 11% stake from the state of Portugal and a 22.34% stake from the private holding company Petrocontrol. ENI has become the oil and gas strategic partner of GALP and they will jointly develop industrial projects in the Iberian energy market and Portuguese speaking countries, including Brazil. The European Commission cleared the acquisition of the GALP stake by ENI in June.

Bethlehem Steel Corp. has signed a letter of intent with Conectiv Energy Supply Inc., Wilmington, Del., for the sale of a 30-acre parcel of land in the Bethlehem Commerce Center to develop a 500-Mw, natural gas-fired, combined cycle generating plant. Conectiv plans to build a $300 million state-of-the-art electric generation facility on the Bethlehem site to supply merchant power to the PJM Interconnection. The first phase, installation of gas-fired combustion turbines, will come on line in the simple-cycle mode as early as 2002. In the second phase, a steam turbine-generator will be added to recover waste heat and allow combined-cycle operation the following year.

Spurred by deregulation, Detroit Edison Co. is receiving meter data from 1,200 Detroit Edison residential and small business customers in Pontiac, Mich., a first step to determine whether the new technology can be applied on a large scale. Detroit Edison Vice-Pres. Ron A. May said the technology eliminates the need for manual readings and ensures customers will receive timely and actual bills, not bills based on estimated use. The automated meter reading system allows meters to be read automatically via radio communication similar to that used in cordless phones. The data is transmitted to collector boxes on utility poles and ultimately relayed to a computer at Detroit Edison's downtown headquarters. The data will provide Detroit Edison with not just total energy consumption, but when and how much electricity customers are using. During the 18-month pilot program, Detroit Edison will evaluate equipment reliability, installation, maintenance, and customer satisfaction. Detroit Edison is using automated meter reading equipment developed by Itron Inc., Spokane, Wash.

Sempra Energy Solutions, the retail energy services subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has signed a $3.8 million agreement with Maricopa County and a $2 million contract with Arizona State University (ASU), the company reported. Maricopa County selected Sempra Energy Solutions to implement energy-conservation measures at 59 buildings countywide, representing more than 2 million sq ft. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2001 and is expected to save taxpayers $538,000/year in utility costs. At ASU's east campus, Sempra has begun retrofitting nearly 5,000 light fixtures; replacing aging heating, ventilation, and conditioning equipment; and upgrading energy-control systems in 21 buildings. Completion is slated for February 2001. Sempra Energy Solutions said it will complete both projects through energy-savings performance contracts, which allow capital costs of new equipment and other energy-efficiency measures to be paid over time from the reduction in customer's energy costs, with no additional outlay of tax or customer dollars.

Energy America, Stamford, Conn., said it has acquired 50,000 residential and small-business natural gas customers from Titan Energy, Georgia, in a transaction valued at $2.5 million. Earlier this month, Titan declared bankruptcy and solicited bids for its customer base. Formerly the fifth-largest gas marketer in Georgia, the acquisition brings Energy America's total customer base to more than 120,000 residential and small-business customers, making it the state's fourth-largest marketer. Energy America is a joint venture between Sempra Energy and Direct Energy Marketing Ltd., Canada's largest independent natural gas marketing company.

Arch Coal Inc. reported it resumed longwall production at the West Elk mine, Gunnison County, Colo. West Elk had been idled Jan. 28, 2000, following the detection of combustion-related gases there. Since the detection of gases, West Elk sealed off the old mine workings where the combustion occurred and flooded the affected area with water. West Elk produced 7.3 million tons of coal last year. Most of the mine's output is sold to electric power plants in the western and midwestern US.

FuelCell Energy Inc., Danbury, Conn., has been awarded a $40 million increase and 3-year extension of the company's agreement under the US Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy carbonate fuel cell cooperative program. Funding under the program to date�approximately $144 million including FuelCell Energy's cost share�has helped the company develop its 300 kw, 1.5 Mw, and 3 Mw-class fuel cell power plant products that are planned for delivery to commercial customers in the second half of 2001 and in 2002. Work under the contract extension will focus on cost reduction, extended life testing, and updating the company's Direct FuelCell power plant.

Mexico's Comisi�n Reguladora de Energ�/b> (CRE) said it has granted India's Ispat International NV, a member of the LNM Group, and its partners permits for two cogeneration plants, Energ�de Veracruz and Energ�de Veracruz II, with a total generating capacity of 930 Mw. CRE said the plants will require an estimated investment of $465 million. The plants will be located near Boca del R� Veracruz, and are scheduled for completion in 2003. Electricidad de Veracruz, a gas-fired combined-cycle plant, will supply Ispat Mexicana and various nearby plants. Eletricidad de Veracruz II, a thermoelectric station, will supply electricity to Ispat Mexicana and Ispat Servicios Portuarios.

Toys 'R' Us Inc. has signed a 5-year integrated facilities management contract with Service Resources Inc. Terms were disclosed. Service Resources says it projects significant operational savings, while managing the 50+ million sq ft portfolio of stores and distribution facilities owned by Toys 'R' US and its subsidiaries. Under the agreement, Service Resources will negotiate and manage all utility services, including electricity, natural gas, water, and sewer contracts; provide all building maintenance and repair services; and manage subcontracting, waste, and other facility support services.

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