Electric Power news briefs, September 18

Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. ... FuelCell Energy Inc. ... Ameren Corp. ... NSTAR ... Boston Edison Co. ... Commonwealth Electric Co. ... Cambridge Electric Light Co. ... Commonwealth Gas Co. ... Conectiv ... IdaCorp ... Bonneville Power Administration ... Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission ... Fuerza Energ�de Naco-Nogales ... Hylsa, Internacional de Papel del Golfo ... Energ�Azteca X ... Agroenerg�... Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. ...US Department of Energy

Sep 18th, 2000


Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. said it has closed its $500 million offering of unsecured notes. The offering consists of $200 million of 7.650% notes due Sept. 15, 2010, and $300 million of 8.125% notes due Sept. 15, 2030. Net proceeds will be used to repay debt. These securities have been rated by four rating services: BBB+ by Standard & Poor's Corp; Baa1 by Moody's Investors Service Inc.; A by CBRS Inc. and A (low) by Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd.

FuelCell Energy Inc. said it has been notified by the US Department of Energy that it has been selected to design, construct, and operate a 250 kw direct fuel cell (DFC) at the Harrison Mining Corp. coal mine, Cadiz, Ohio. Negotiations leading to a final award are expected to be completed by the end of September. The objective of the project is to reduce methane emissions associated with underground coal mining operations. Costs for the $5.4 million, 3-year program will be shared equally by DOE and FuelCell Energy. Site design is planned to begin this fall, with construction anticipated to be underway by January 2001 and operations to commence in the third quarter of 2002.

Subject to regulatory approval, Ameren Corp. said it will build a four-unit, gas-fired 468 Mw electric generating facility in Elgin, Ill. The simple cycle combustion turbines will serve as peaking units. Construction of the facility could begin in late spring of 2001 and the units would begin operation in the spring of 2002. Project costs were not disclosed. Ameren said electrical usage in the Chicago area continues to increase by 3%/year and statewide, 1-2%/year.

NSTAR has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for about 775 Mw of power for default service for the period of Jan. 1, 2001 through March 31, 2001. NSTAR is the parent company of Boston Edison Co., Commonwealth Electric Co., Cambridge Electric Light Co., and Commonwealth Gas Co. NSTAR said it is seeking competitive power supply offers from qualified power suppliers to meet 100% of the needs of its 283,000 default service customers. The RFP schedule requires proposals be received by NSTAR by 4 p.m. EDT Oct. 6, 2000.

Conectiv Power Delivery, a unit of Conectiv, is seeking a 9.5% natural gas rate increase request with the Delaware Public Service Commission, as the result of increases in natural gas wholesale prices. The company is seeking a 17.6% increase in the fuel rate portion of the bill, from $4.2393-4.9853/mcf, while the delivery portion of the bill will remain unchanged. Conectiv said it has hedged a portion of its gas purchases, helping hold down the increase.

IdaTech, a subsidiary of IdaCorp, Boise, Idaho, said it has been notified by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to proceed with the design and production of the first block of 50 beta methanol fuel cell systems for testing in 2001. The announcement comes after 3 months of field testing of IdaTech's patented alpha fuel cell system for residential applications. The testing was conducted under a May 1999 purchase agreement with BPA to purchase 110 IdaTech fuel cell systems, rated at 3 kw. The objective of the BPA program is to identify improvements necessary to the commercialization for 1 kw and 3 kw applications in the home, business, and consumer markets. Idatech said it will commence field testing natural gas, propane, diesel, and kerosene units at remote locations with BPA, and other strategic alliance partners, in North America, Japan, and Europe in 2001.

More than 355 Mexican companies have acquired natural gas price hedging instruments covering 85% of natural gas consumption, the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) reported. The agency and the finance and energy ministries published a resolution Aug. 1, promoting use of hedging instruments to protect against volatile price swings. CRE said distributors of natural gas who have used these instruments will benefit more than 675,000 customers. In addition, CRE said it has granted five generation permits with total capacity of 957 Mw and a value of $957 million during July and August. The permits holders include Fuerza Energ�de Naco-Nogales, Hylsa, Internacional de Papel del Golfo, Energ�Azteca X, and Agroenerg�

The US Department of Energy said it has awarded six technology development research grants totaling $6 million to promote advancement of clean energy technology. Receiving the grants were the Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs, $563,920 to develop an advanced hybrid system for supplying energy to commercial buildings; the Ohio Department of Development, $481,604 to develop solid oxide fuel cell technology; University of Oregon, $265,676 to develop more accurate analyses of solar energy; New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, $521,688 to test the potential of distributed power systems; Idaho Department of Water Resources Energy division, $468,525 to develop onsite processes to separate wheat chaff; and the National Association of State Energy Officials in conjunction with California, Florida, Wisconsin, New York, and Ohio, $3.5 million to develop clean energy technologies for use in US schools.

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. (ISO) said it is seeking an independent, third party market operator for the real-time balancing market and ancillary services the ISO is required to provide for its transmission customers. The Midwest ISO will contract with the independent market operator for an exclusive arrangement covering administration of commodity market-related activities and will work jointly with the market operator to develop the scope and requirements of the market operator, sponsors said. The Midwest ISO is the nation's largest independent transmission system operator. Utilities with more than 52,000 miles of transmission lines, 78,000 Mw electric generation and about $8 billion in installed assets are participating in the transmission organization.

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