Electric Power news briefs, February 5

TransAlta Corp. ... Foster Wheeler Corp. ... Metsa-Serla Aanekoski ... Aaneseudun Energia Oy ... Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. ... Williams ... Florida Power & Light Co. ... Great River Energy ... WPD Holdings UK ... and Hyder PLC ... BayCorp Holdings Ltd. ... TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. ... Consort Resources Ltd. ... TXU Corp. ... InterGen ... Hyder PLC ... Mirant Corp. ... AES Corp. ... Duke Energy Corp. ... Williams ... Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC ... Green Mountain Energy Co.


TransAlta Corp., Calgary, said it is planning a $1.2 billion ( $1.8 billion Can.) 900 Mw addition at its Edmonton, Alta., coal-fired Keephills power plant bringing total capacity to 1,340 Mw. The company also will build a $210 million ($310 million Can.) 248 Mw gas-fired power plant at its Centralia, Wash., facility. TransAlta said the Keephills expansion will meet environmental standards required of a new plant of its kind and expects commissioning, pending regulatory approval, in early 2005. Pending regulatory approval, the Centralia plant is scheduled to be operational by July 2002. The company also reported it will invest $3.3 million ($5 million Can.) in Vision Quest Windelectric Inc., Calgary, and plans to switch its corporate headquarters to wind power.

Foster Wheeler Corp., Clinton, NJ, reported its Finnish subsidiary, Foster Wheeler Energia Oy, was awarded a $51 million turnkey contract by Aanevoima Oy to supply a power plant for Metsa-Serla Aanekoski pulp and paper mills in Central Finland. The plant also will supply electricity for Noviant CMC Oy's carboxymethyl cellulose production facility and district heat for Aaneseudun Energia Oy, a local power company. The plant is scheduled to be completed in October 2002. Aanevoima is a joint company founded for this power plant project by Metsa-Serla (45% share), Metsaliitto (20%), Noviant CMC (20%), and Aaneseudun Energia (15%).

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a unit of El Paso Energy Corp., reported it has begun open season for firm natural gas transportation service from CMS Trunkline LNG Co.'s LNG terminal in Lake Charles, La., into Tennessee's system. This open season closes at 2 p.m. CST Feb. 16, and is concurrent with the final 2 weeks of CMS Energy's current open season for LNG terminal services at the facility. Service under the project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2002.

A unit of Williams said it will construct power generation plants in or near Memphis, Tenn., and Las Vegas, Nev., and plans to expand an existing power facility in Hazleton, Penn. A gas-fired power plant will be constructed adjacent to Williams's Memphis refinery with generation expected to be available in the fourth quarter 2001. The first stage of the project will be a 186 Mw combined cycle plant, expandable to 265 Mw, and is expected to be in full service by summer 2003. Williams said it may also pursue a second phase of the project which will bring the generation capacity to 1,000 Mw. Williams also plans to construct a 125 Mw peaking plant near Las Vegas expandable to 300 Mw. Williams expects 62 Mw to be in service in the fourth quarter of 2001 and an additional 63 Mw to be available in second quarter 2002. Williams's 63 Mw peaking generation unit in Hazleton, Penn., will be expanded to 163 Mw with the addition of four 25 Mw gas-fired turbine generators.

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) asked the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a 9% increase in residential bills beginning April 1, reflecting increased fuel costs. Under FPL's proposal, a 1,000 kw-hr monthly residential bill would rise to $87.88 from $80.55 from April to December. Commercial and industrial bills would increase 13 and 17% respectively. Since the PSC approved FPL's 2001 fuel adjustment in November, the price of natural gas projected for 2001 has risen 46%, and oil, 13%, FPL said.

Transmission and generation cooperative Great River Energy, Elk River, Minn., filed an application with the North Dakota Industrial Commission requesting $10 million in matching funds to perform feasibility studies which may lead to the construction of a $700 million, 500 Mw lignite-fired power plant. The studies will investigate site selection, modeling of environmental impacts, economic determinations, and transmission system requirements, among others. Separately, Great River Energy said it filed its 2001 resource plan with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission stating it will need to add nearly 1,300 Mw of capacity over the next 20 years. It plans to meet those needs through a combination of demand-side management, renewable energy, and new supply-side resources including peaking, intermediate, and base load generation.

The UK's WPD Holdings UK and Hyder PLC said they intend to make an offer to exchange new US dollar-denominated debt securities of WPD Holdings for outstanding US dollar-denominated debt securities of Hyder owned by certain eligible investors. The offer will be made as a private transaction pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the US Securities Act. In addition, in connection with the exchange offer, Hyder is proposing to transfer certain of its assets, including South Wales Electricity PLC, to WPD Holdings.

BayCorp Holdings Ltd. reported after a delay the Seabrook nuclear station has returned to full power. The refueling outage began Oct. 21, 2000 and was scheduled to return to full power Nov. 21, 2000. However, the outage was extended when damage to an emergency diesel generators occurred, requiring extensive repairs. Until revenues from Seabrook power sales are received, BayCorp projects that negative cash flow will occur and its remaining unrestricted cash would have been insufficient to cover its share of the Seabrook operating costs for February and March 2001. Accordingly, BayCorp said secured bridge financing to pay its share of operating costs for these months. The company said expects to repay the bridge financing after several months.

TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. reported sale of Cancarb Ltd., Medicine Hat, Alta., and the associated power plant to Sid Richardson Carbon Co. or one of its affiliated companies was not completed as scheduled. The sale, for $160 million including working capital, was expected to close Feb. 1. TransCanada said it met all its obligations under the relevant agreements and is currently considering its business options and legal remedies regarding the sale.

Consort Resources Ltd. has purchased the UK North Sea gas business from the European arm of TXU Corp. for $201 million, TXU reported. Consort will also take over the operation of the Johnston gas field. An energy trading company linked to Consort will become the buyer under the life-of-field Johnston gas purchase agreement. TXU has been reviewing its natural gas assets as part of its strategy to focus on core areas of trading, generation, and energy retailing. Sale of the gas business combined with last week's announcement of TXU's decision to sell its holdings in Spain's Hidroelectricca de Cantabrica secures over $630 million of funds for the company.

InterGen, the electric power company alliance between Royal Dutch/Shell Group and US engineering company Bechtel Corp., reported it closed on credit facilities for the 1,200 Mw gas-fired combined cycle Cottonwood Energy project in Newton County, Tex. Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas are the joint lead arrangers under the project's credit agreement executed in late December. Completion of the Cottonwood Project's primary syndication is scheduled for mid-February, following which a general syndication will be launched. The facility is expected to begin commercial operation by mid-2003. Natural gas will be supplied by the Texas Eastern and Channel Industries pipelines.

Mirant Corp., formerly Southern Energy Inc., said it has proposed building a 480 Mw peaking plant power plant in the industrial center of Rockdale, Ill. Assuming timely completion of state and local permitting, Mirant plans to have the power plant working by 2003-2004. Mirant is 80% owned by Southern Co.

AES Corp. said it plans to sell $600 million of debt securities under its existing universal shelf registration statement. Net proceeds from the sale of debt securities will be used to repay certain outstanding indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.

Subsidiaries of Duke Energy Corp. and Williams reported closing the purchase of Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC from Coastal Corp. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. The project sponsors expect the 744-mile, 1.1 bcf/day, $1.6 billion Gulfstream project to receive Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval in the first quarter of 2001. The target in-service date for the project is June 2002.

Green Mountain Energy Co., Austin, Tex., reported it is the first exclusively 'green' energy provider to be approved the Texas Public Utility Commission. The company said it will begin offering customers a 'green' energy option when the state begins a pilot program in June 2001.

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