Electric Power news briefs, August 30

Duke Energy North America ... Elk Hills Power LLC ... TransEnergie US Ltd. ... ABB Group ... Holland Energy LLC ... Parsons Energy & Chemicals Group ... Southern Union Co. ... Providence Energy Corp. ... Fall River Gas Co. ... Valley Resources Inc. ... Automated Credit Exchange ... Hallmark Cards Inc. ... UtiliCorp Energy Management ... Duke Energy Gas Transmission Corp. ... Market Hub Partners ... NiSource Inc.

A committee of the California Energy Commission has recommended certification of Duke Energy Corp. unit Duke Energy North America's proposed $475 million combined cycle, natural gas-fired 1,060 Mw Moss Landing power project near Salinas. The project will supply electricity to a PG&E Corp. switchyard which supports local loads in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Gilroy. A second committee recommended against approving the proposed Elk Hills Power LLC 500 Mw, natural gas-fired, combined cycle facility in western Kern County.

TransEnergie US Ltd., a unit of Hydro-Quebec, has contracted with a unit of ABB Group, Zurich, for ABB to supply the transmission system for the proposed 40 km high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cross-sound cable subsea power interconnection linking Long Island, NY, and Connecticut, ABB reported. Under the terms of the $120 million contract, ABB will provide a complete HVDC light transmission system. The link is scheduled to begin operation by May 2002. The system will made up of extruded cables buried under the seabed, with a converter station at each end of the link, ABB said. The stations convert electricity from alternating current used in the local power grids to direct current for efficient power transmission over longer distances.

Constellation Energy Group Inc.'s Constellation Power Source affiliate Holland Energy LLC has contracted with Parsons Energy & Chemicals Group for Parsons to design and build a $250 million 650 Mw natural gas-fired power plant facility in Holland Township, Ill., Parsons reported. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in August and is expected to begin producing electricity in June 2002.

Southern Union Co. said shareholders approved its $400 million definitive merger agreement with Providence Energy Corp. (ProvEnergy) and its $75 million definitive merger agreement with Fall River Gas Co. These mergers, along with the pending merger with Valley Resources Inc., will add more than 300,000 customers to Southern Union, bringing its customer base to about 1.6 million. Fall River Gas shareholders also approved the merger agreement in its special meeting Aug. 29, 2000.

The dramatic price increase in the Regional Clean Air Incentive Market (RECLAIM) emission trading credits appears to have moderated at the end of August, as the market clearing price for expiring nitrogen oxide (NOx) credits was $13.15/lb in the just completed Automated Credit Exchange market�a 60% drop from peak prices just weeks earlier, ACE executives reported. The ACE price news reflects the fact many small buyers reached a limit on what they were willing or able to spend for emission credits�and many sellers were lowering prices to ensure they were able to sell a small balance of expiring credits before the Aug. 29 deadline, ACE said. NOx emission credits prices have risen from barely a $1/lb for expiring credits at the beginning of the year to a peak of more than $36/lb at the end of July. The next ACE market operates the week of Sept. 18.

Hallmark Cards Inc. has signed a 3-year contract with UtiliCorp Energy Management (UEM), a unit of UtiliCorp United Inc., to manage the company's energy procurement process for natural gas and electricity, UtiliCorp said. Under the contract, UEM will manage the multimillion dollar energy budget for 17 Hallmark facilities. UEM also will oversee the energy supply chain management for demand side services targeting onsite energy efficiency projects.

Duke Energy Corp. unit Duke Energy Gas Transmission Corp. (DEGT) said it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the natural gas salt cavern storage business known as Market Hub Partners (MHP) from subsidiaries of NiSource Inc., for $250 million in cash plus the assumption of $150 million in debt. DEGT said the salt domes have 23 bcf of storage capacity with significant expansion capability. The stock purchase is expected to close later this year, pending US Federal Trade Commission approval. The Moss Bluff storage facilities are in Liberty County, Tex., and the Egan facilities in Acadia Parish, La.

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