North America – Electric Power news briefs

The AES Corp. said it won a bid for $45.9 million to purchase a 75% controlling interest in Kievoblenergo, the distribution company serving the region around Kiev, Ukraine. The remaining 25% interest is either publicly traded or owned by the employees of the distribution company. Completion of the acquisition is subject to review by the Ukraine State Property Fund and the execution of a sale and purchase agreement. In 2000, Kievoblenergo distributed 3,840 Gw-hr to 763,000 customers.

Constellation Energy Group Inc. said the 300 Mw gas-fired Big Sandy power plant in Neal, W. Va., is scheduled to begin commercial operation in July. The Big Sandy peaking plant is under construction on a 45-acre site. Spectrum Energy, Charlotte, NC, is providing engineering, procurement, and construction services.

The Michigan Public Service Commission is seeking written comments on staff proposals to implement and measure the Michigan Renewables Energy Program. Written comments are due May 17 and reply comments should be filed by May 31.

A California Energy Commission siting committee recommended licensing the 500 Mw Three Mountain power plant being proposed near Burney, 50 miles east of Redding, Calif. The project is being proposed by Three Mountain LLC owned by Ogden Power Corp.

Wisconsin Public Service Corp., a subsidiary of WPS Resources Corp. filed an application to raise 2002 electric and natural gas rates 16% and 4.5%, respectively. Although the actual increase may vary between rate classes, applying the overall increase to typical residential customers would result in increases of about $7.62/month for electric customers who use 630 kw-hr, the company said, and $3.54/month for gas customers who use 1,000 therms/year. The company said 45% of the electric rate increase will be used to make improvements at the Kewaunee nuclear power plant, including purchase of steam generators for $120 million.

Alliant Energy International, a unit Alliant Energy Resources Inc. — the nonutility division of Alliant Energy Corp. ௿½ reported investing $14 million in an 80 Mw cogeneration combined heat and power (CHP) plant project in China. The plant, Anhui New Energy Heat & Power Co. Ltd., is located in Bengbu City, Anhui Province. Bengbu Thermal Power Plant is the partner in the project.

Canada’s National Energy Board said it will not permit Westcoast Energy Inc. to reopen its Pine River gas plant sulfur pipeline until regulators are satisfied certain safety issues have been fully addressed, or plan is in place to address those issues. The Board ordered Westcoast to stop all work Mar. 16. Westcoast will be directed to provide the board a comprehensive plan to ensure safe operation of the pipeline. Separately, Westcoast said it will conduct an open season for additional transportation service on its Southern Mainline and Westcoast Alberta facilities, carrying gas from producing areas in British Columbia, Alberta, and the southern Northwest Territories, to the British Columbia lower mainland, and the US Pacific Northwest. The additional service is a result of the proposed expansion of its facilities, which would have an anticipated in service date of Nov. 1, 2003.

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. said the Indiana Development Finance Authority approved a $1 million loan for the regional wholesale electric transmission operator. The loan is part of the economic development package the state offered the Midwest ISO in November 1999 to locate in central Indiana. Under the 10-year loan, the Midwest ISO agreed to add 150 jobs and to invest more than $70 million in infrastructure.

Calpine Corp. reported it will buy 35 model 7FB and 11 model 7FA gas-fired power turbines from General Electric Co.’s GE Power Systems subsidiary. Calpine said in a statement it now has firm orders for the delivery of 203 power turbines, representing 50,000 Mw of base load electric capacity. The company said it will take delivery of five of the turbines in 2002, with the remainder of the contract to be filled by the end of 2005. Separately, Calpine said it completed the previously reported merger with Canadian natural gas production company Encal Energy Ltd.

Japan’s Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. and Aquila Inc., a unit of UtiliCorp United Inc., reported they have formed a strategic alliance to market products in the global weather derivatives market. Under the agreement, Mitsui Marine will market in Japan and Asia weather risk management products similar to Aquila’s already established products marketed in North America and Europe.

A unit of Williams reported plans to develop a 1,230 Mw gas-fired power generation plant near Fairburn, Ga. The facility, currently in permitting stages, is scheduled for completion in 2004. Williams said the site was selected because of its availability to a major gas pipeline and an adjacent existing electric substation and transmission lines. The permitting is expected to take 1 year to complete before construction of the plant begins.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a request by Consumers Energy, a unit of CMS Energy Corp., to transfer operating authority of the 789 Mw Palisades nuclear plant to Nuclear Management Co., Hudson, Wis. The utility will retain financial obligation for the safe operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of the plant, as well as the safe storage and management of used nuclear fuel stored on site.

Texas produced 47.4 million tons of lignite coal in 2000, a decline of 5.8 million tons from 1999, the Texas Railroad Commission reported. Texas Utilities Mining Co., a unit of TXU Corp., was the state’s largest producer in 2000, mining 24 millions tons of lignite from five mines in five counties.

A unit of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. reported it will construct an $80 million (Can.) 80 Mw gas-fired cogeneration power plant near Grande Prairie, Alta. The plant will supply 30 Mw of power and steam to Weyerhauser Co.’s Grande Prairie pulp mill. The balance of the power will be sold to the Alberta power pool. Subject to regulatory approvals, the plant is scheduled to begin operating in December 2002.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Texas Eastern Transmission Corp.’s plan to expand its Pennsylvania gas pipeline by 84 MMcfd to serve a $300 million, 568 Mw gas-fired power plant under construction in Delaware County by Columbia Electric, a unit of the Columbia Energy Group Inc. The pipeline project is scheduled to be completed in September and the power plant in early 2002.

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