Electric Power news briefs, June 8

Unitil ... Enemetrix ... LG&E Corp. ... American Electric Power Co. ... Hawks Industries ... DaimlerChrysler ... Coral Energy LP ... WeatherMarkets.com ... BP Amoco ... Ireland Power Energy ... Anglo American


Unitil Corp. has formed Usource LLC, as a subsidiary of its unregulated business unit, Unitil Resources Inc., to expand Usourceonline.com business, which provides internet-based energy brokering and related products and services, the company reported. Launched in mid-1999, Usource provides internet-based energy procurement services to large commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in New York and New England. Usource runs on transaction-based software and an energy commodity exchange licensed by Enermetrix.com., Maynard, Mass. Usource has also completed the release of technology designed to allow automated enrollment for internet-based energy supply acquisition by medium-sized business customers.

Shareholders of LG&E Energy Corp., Louisville, Ky., have approved the company's merger with the UK's PowerGen PLC. The $24.85/share to be paid LG&E Energy holders represents a 58% premium above LG&E Energy's closing price on the last day of trading before the announcement. PowerGen holders approved the merger Monday at that company's annual general meeting. Subject to various regulatory approvals, the merger will create a global power company with assets of nearly $12 billion and total revenues of $8.7 billion, serving 4 million customers worldwide.

American Electric Power Co.'s Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 2 has entered Mode 4, the reactor coolant system heat-up phase of the plant's return to service, company officials said. AEP has asked the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin the restart authorization process and concur that the unit is ready to restart. Cook Unit 2 has a generating capacity of 1,090 Mw. AEP officials said they expect the unit to be in service in time to serve this summer's peak demand. After Unit 2 is returned to service, AEP will begin planning the restart schedule for Unit 1. The units have been idled since September 1997 because of questions raised about safety systems.

Hawks Industries Inc., Casper, Wyo., and Blue Star Sustainable Technologies Corp., Lakewood, Colo., have formed a joint venture combining Hawks's existing natural gas resources with new integrated natural gas processing technology owned by Blue Star. Blue Star's process combines a gas-fired electrical plant with a chemical synthesis reactor to generate electrical power, clean liquid fuels, and potable water, the companies said. The electricity that is produced will be available for normal electrical usage. The fuels will have application in internal combustion engines (both Otto and Diesel cycle) and are expected to have fuel cell application for both stationary power and transportation. Over a projected 2-year period, the agreement calls for assessments to be made to determine which of Hawks's coalbed reservoirs in Wyoming's Powder River basin is best suited to the new technology, to identify markets for the projected gas-derived products, and to commence production at the chosen Hawks site.

DaimlerChrysler Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich., said it is tapping landfill waste gases to provide power for its two St. Louis, Mo., assembly plants. The landfill gas contains 50% methane gas. To use the captured gases, DaimlerChrysler will convert two of the four boilers in its St. Louis plant powerhouse, the company said. DaimlerChrysler's partners are the landfill operator Superior Services of Onyx North America and Toro Energy which will provide the equipment for trapping, treating, compressing, and piping the gases under low pressure to the plant powerhouse. At the St. Louis facility, two of the plants' four boilers were modified to use landfill gas in a way that produces the same thermal characteristics as natural gas boilers.

Coral Energy LP, an affiliate of Shell Oil Co., has contracted with WeatherMarkets.com to received specialized energy weather information for its e-business site, coralconnect.com. The companies reported the information includes heating and cooling degree-day forecast graphics, current and forecast surface conditions, winter weather graphics, Europeans forecasts, and worldwide sea conditions. Coral is a North American energy marketing, trading, and energy services company.

Subject to final contractual terms and board approval, Ireland's ePower and BP Amoco PLC will become major shareholders in the proposed 400 Mw Powerston merchant power project being developed by Ireland Power Energy Ltd. in Fingal County, near Dublin, the companies reported. Independent marketing company ePower has been trading since deregulation took place in February 2000. BP Amoco is involved in 11 Gw of electric generating capacity worldwide and is a major wholesale gas supplier in the UK and North America.

Anglo American PLC and Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. have reached an agreement under which Anglo American will purchase Shell Coal Holdings Ltd. for about $875 million cash, the companies said. Shell Coal's Australian assets consist of interests in four underground and three open cut mines. Shell Coal's portion of the recoverable reserves at the producing mines total some 600 million tonnes. Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to be completed by June 30. Through its wholly owned Anglo Coal division, Anglo American produces more than 60 million tonnes/year of coal.

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