Electric power news briefs, Aug. 8

Potomac Electric Power Co. ... Conectiv ... InterGen ... Bechtel Corp. ... Electroandina ... AES Corp. ... Edelnor ... Mirant Corp. ... El Paso Corp. ... Gauley River Power Partners ... Catamount Energy Corp. ... AEP ... Avista Utilities ... Cogentrix Energy Inc. ... DynaMotive Energy Systems Corp.

Potomac Electric Power Co., Washington, DC, and Conectiv, Wilmington, Del., reported receiving antitrust clearance from the US Justice Department for their $2.2 billion proposed merger. The merger also is being reviewed by state regulatory agencies. The companies anticipate that the merger will close in the first quarter 2002. When completed, the combination will create the largest electricity delivery company, measured by throughput, in the mid-Atlantic Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland power pool region.

InterGen, the electric power alliance between Royal Dutch/Shell Group and US engineering company Bechtel Corp., said the 135 Mw Indigo energy facility in Palm Springs, Calif., is operational. The Indigo plant is one of two InterGen facilities that comprise the Wildflower energy project. Indigo joins Wildflower Energy's Larkspur plant which was commissioned in July by Gov. Gray Davis.

Chilean power firm Electroandina said it would stay in the race against AES Corp., to take over local generator Edelnor. Electroandina, controlled by Belgium's Tractebel, extended its previous $110 million cash bid for Edelnor's debt, which originally expired on Tuesday morning, until Aug.17 but left it unchanged. Friday, AES, Arlington, Va., announced a $128 million counter-offer for Edelnor, or $375 for every $1,000 of the company's debt. Edelnor is controlled by Mirant Corp., Atlanta, Ga. The AES offer is valid until August 31.

Mirant Corp. said it contracted to acquire a 640 Mw power plant in Thomaston, Ga., and a 480 Mw gas-fired plant in New Port Richey, Fla., from El Paso Corp., Houston. The Georgia plant has been operational since June 2000, while the Florida plant is scheduled to begin commercial operation in March 2002. Mirant would continue to provide power from both plants to customers under a variety of power purchase agreements. Terms were not disclosed.

Calpine Corp., San Jose, Calif., said the 460 Mw RockGen peaking facility in Cambridge, Wis., has begun providing electricity to Wisconsin Power & Light Co. under the terms of a 7-year agreement. When WP&L does not call on the plant's output, Calpine will sell electricity to the Wisconsin wholesale power market.

Gauley River Power Partners (GRRP) reported a new 80 Mw hydroelectric project is now operating commercially in Summersville, WV. The hydropower facility is located adjacent to a US Army Corps of Engineers dam on the Gauley River, and is owned by the City of Summersville. GRRP, which is owned by Catamount Energy Corp., built and is operating the plant, and Appalachian Power Co., a subsidiary of American Electric Power Co. Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is buying the power from the unit.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission said it will conduct a public hearing Sept. 12 in Coeur d'Alene regarding Avista Utilities' proposal for a 14.7% surcharge on its Idaho customers and an extension of its current 4.8% surcharge. The total 19.4% surcharge, if approved, would expire Dec. 31, 2003. For a residential customer using 1,000 kw-hr/month, the increase would be about $7.55/month. The commission suspended the utility unit of Avista Corp.'s request to have the proposed rate increase take effect Sept. 15.

The Ohio Power Siting Board said it approved construction of a new electric generation facility in Franklin Township, Jackson County, Ohio. Jackson County Power LLC, a unit of Cogentrix Energy Inc., Charlotte, NC, was given approval to construct a 1,070 Mw combined cycle generating plant that will connect to an existing 345 kw double circuit electric transmission line through a new Ohio Valley Electric Co. substation at the site.

DynaMotive Energy Systems Corp., Vancouver, BC, said its subsidiary Border Biofuels Ltd. has submitted planning applications to develop a forest residue-fired power station on Arran, an island off the Scottish coast. The project intends to use wood from existing forestry operations to generate electricity. The power station should generate up to one-third the island�s electricity needs, the company said. Project revenues have been estimated to exceed $30 million (Can.) over the project's primary 15-year life.

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