Electric Power news briefs, September 29

PG&E Corp. ... BP ... Intermountain Industries Inc. ... Phillips Petroleum Co. ... River Gas Corp. ... The Bonneville Power Administration ... Golden Northwest Aluminum Inc. ... Calpine Corp. ... Michigan Gas Utilities ... AES Corp. ... Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. ... Dominion Peoples

PG&E Corp. said its National Energy Group will develop a 1,000 Mw combined cycle gas-fired power plant a t a site near Moapa, Nev., 45 miles northeast of Las Vegas to help satisfy demand in one of the fastest growing regions of the US. PG&E said has begun securing necessary federal, state, and local permits for the project. It said it hopes to begin construction of the power plant during the fourth quarter of 2001, with completion expected by first quarter 2004.

BP said it has completed the previously reported purchase from Intermountain Industries Inc. of IGI Resources Inc., Boise, a natural gas and power trading and transportation business. IGI has sales of about 600 MMcfd of natural gas. It also manages a significant amount of pipeline and storage capacity.

Phillips Petroleum Co. reported it has acquired the coalbed methane assets of River Gas Corp., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and three other companies that were not identified for $123 million. In the transaction, Phillips gets River Gas Corp.'s methane coalbeds in Utah and Alabama. The deal will increase Phillips' reserves by 215 bcf and boost its coalbed methane production to 235 MMcfd, it said. Vice-Pres. Jim Bowles said the acquisition supports the company's strategy to become the leading US coalbed methane producer.

The Bonneville Power Administration said it agreed, subject to various conditions, to participate in a proposal to develop a natural gas-fueled combustion turbine generator planned for Goldendale, Wash. The sponsor of the power project is Golden Northwest Aluminum Inc., owner of two nearby primary aluminum plants. Golden Northwest said it will adjust its scheduled power purchases from BPA and resell some of the power into the electricity market, as allowed under its current contract. The company has agreed to use any monetary benefits from these actions to sustain aluminum operations at plants in Goldendale, Wash., and The Dalles, Ore., BPA officials said.

Calpine Corp. said it will invest $140 million over a 5-year period to improve plant efficiencies and extend the life at The Geysers geothermal facility by about 140 Mw. Located about 90 miles northeast of San Francisco, in a 30 square-mile region in Sonoma and Lake counties in northern California, 21 geothermal power plants at The Geysers today generate about 1,000 Mw of electricity�enough to meet the energy needs of about 1 million homes. At The Geysers, wells are drilled to access steam from beneath the earth. The steam is sent via pipelines to turbines, which drive generators to produce electricity.

The Michigan Public Service Commission said it approved a settlement agreement authorizing Michigan Gas Utilities (MGU), Monroe, Mich., to implement a revised gas cost recovery factor of $5.30/Mcf between October-December 2000 because of recent and unanticipated increases in market prices for natural gas. The commission previously approved a gas cost recovery factor of $3.81/Mcf June 19. Without the revised factor, MGU was at risk to experience a significant gas cost underrecovery for 2000, estimated to be at least $16.8 million, regulators said.

AES Corp. reported it has begun construction on a $340 million, 300 Mw combined cycle gas-fired electric power plant and LNG importing facility in the Dominican Republic. LNG for the project will be supplied by BP under a 20-year fuel supply agreement. Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. has been selected to construct the LNG terminal portion of the facility, the company said. Construction is expected to take 24 months. Electrical output from AES Andres will be marketed primarily under long-term contracts to electric distribution companies in the Dominican Republic.

The Michigan Public Service Commission authorized Northern States Power-Wisconsin (NSP-W) to implement a revised gas cost factor of 64�/therm for its Michigan customers' October 2000-March 2001 natural gas bills. NSP-W's gas cost recovery plan, approved by the commission on April 24, 2000, authorized a gas cost factor of 40�/therm, putting the company at risk of experiencing a $1.8 million gas cost underrecovery from its Michigan customers in 2000, regulators said.

Dominion Peoples, a unit of Dominion Resources Inc., reported it will be filing a gas cost recovery (GCR) with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to be effective Oct. 1. Under the new filing, the GCR will increase to $6.20/Mcf from $5.16/Mcf. Dominion said customers using 111 Mcf/year should expect monthly bills to rise about $13/month. Company officials attributed the increase in the GCR to sharply rising prices for natural gas on the national market, which have doubled since the beginning of the year.

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