CMS Energy Corp., Dearborn, Mich., and its equity joint venture partner, the A.H. Al-Zamil Group, have been named the preferred bidder for the SADAF 230 Mw gas-fired cogeneration power project in Saudi Arabia, CMS reported. SADAF is a 50-50 joint venture between Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and Shell Chemicals, a unit of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. The project will be the first privately owned independent power plant in Saudi Arabia and will supply 510 tonnes/hr of steam production capacity under a 20-year energy conversion agreement.

TXU Electric, a unit of TXU Corp., Dallas, said a $62 million, 88-mile high-voltage transmission line has begun operating and will double the amount of electricity that can be moved from southern to northern Texas. The 345 kv transmission line, running from Dallas to the Houston area, increases the south-to-north transmission transfer capacity to 4,000 Mw from 2,000 Mw, TXU officials said. The line connects north and south Texas at Limestone power plant in Limestone County. TXU completed construction 1 year ahead of the May 2002 scheduled date.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of El Paso Corp., Houston, said it began an open season May 14 for its Northeast ConneXion project, which will involve expanding the company’s storage and pipeline in the Northeast. The nonbinding open season ends May 31.The storage expansion of up to 5 bcf could provide as much as 300,000 dekatherms/day of incremental deliverability and will serve as the base load for the pipeline expansion, the company said.

Kerr-McGee Chemical LLC, a unit of Kerr-McGee Corp., Oklahoma City, said it has joined with Canada’s Hydro-Quebec to market a solid-state lithium metal polymer power cell in a 50-50 joint venture to be called Avestor Corp. The joint venture will commercialize a power cell capable of serving the telecommunication, utility peak shaving, and electric and hybrid-electric vehicle markets, the companies said.

AES Corp., Arlington, Va., said its AES Huntington Beach received certification from the California Energy Commission to refurbish two retired gas-fired units that will add 450 Mw of generation in California. The refurbishment project will upgrade and improve the reliability of old boilers, replace obsolete controls, and install state-of-the-art emissions controls. Units 3 and 4 at the AES Huntington Beach generation facility were retired in 1995.

DPL Inc., Dayton, Ohio, said it will build two 80 Mw gas-fired peaking plants at its Darby station, southwest of Columbus. The $55 million project is scheduled to be on line for the 2002 summer peaking season. DPL said it has received all state and regulatory approvals for the project.

James L. Broadhead, CEO of FPL Group Inc., Juno Beach, Fla., he expects earnings per share to increase 7% in 2001, excluding merger-related expenses. FPL Group reported record 2001 first quarter net income of $129 million, excluding merger-related expenses, compared with $121 million a year ago. Earnings per share rose to 76¢ from 71¢ a year ago. He said FPL expects to have an adequate supply of electricity with a reserve margin of 20% this summer. The company also expects to complete 1,000 Mw worth of projects by yearend and plans to build nearly 5,400 Mw of generating capacity over the next 3 years for a portfolio totaling 9,500 Mw.

Florida Power Corp., St Petersburg, Fla., filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission that would cut Florida Power rates $127 million over the next 3 _ half years, including $37 million in annual savings beginning in 2004 from lower fuel costs. In addition to the rate cut, Florida Power said it will spend more than $300 million over the next 3 years to raise its capacity reserve margin to 20% from 15%, improve system reliability, and enhance customer service.

Edison International, Rosemead, Calif., reported a loss of $617 million or $1.89/share for the 2001 first quarter, reflecting the effect of a charge against earnings. The company’s regulated utility, Southern California Edison (SCE), reported an after-tax earnings charge of $661 million, or $2.03/share in the first quarter of 2001, reflecting purchased power costs that exceeded the company’s revenues. Excluding the unreimbursed purchased power costs at SCE, for the quarter ending March 31, Edison International reported 2001 earnings of $43 million, compared with $110 million in 2000, and SCE earned $62 million in 2001, compared with $113 million in the same quarter last year. Edison Mission Energy (EME) earned $8 million in the 2001 first quarter, compared with a loss of $12 million in 2000.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the utility unit of PG&E Corp., San Francisco, which filed for bankruptcy protection Apr. 6, said some of its lenders have accelerated and redeemed $454 million of pollution control loans, and that another $100 million pollution control loan will be redeemed on Friday. Calling of the loans, which occur when a borrower cannot meet the loans’ terms, are taking place because California’s largest utility cannot pay unsecured creditors who had claims against Pacific Gas & Electric before the bankruptcy filing.

Calpine Corp., San Jose, Calif., said it entered into an agreement to build, own, and operate a 1,030 Mw gas-fired electricity generating facility in Berrien, Mich. The proposed plant is Calpine’s first Michigan development project and will represent an investment of more than $500 million, with a target commercial operation date of 2004. Separately, Calpine said its Canadian subsidiary has entered into a $255 million letter of intent to acquire and assume operations of the 250 Mw Island cogeneration facility near Campbell River, BC, and the 50 Mw Whitby cogeneration facility, Whitby, Ont., from Westcoast Energy Inc., Vancouver, BC. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is subject to final documentation and various third party and regulatory approvals.

Six Michigan municipal utilities have selected a marketing unit of CMS Energy Corp., Dearborn, Mich., as their long-term wholesale electric power supplier. CMS said the 5-year contracts cover $90 million worth of electricity over their term. The total peak electric demand for the six utilities in the first year is expected to be 100 Mw. The agreements call for CMS to supply the full electricity requirements of municipal utilities in Bay City, Chelsea, Eaton Rapids, Hart, Portland, and St. Louis, Mich. beginning Jan. 1, 2002.

Tenaska Energy, Omaha, Neb., a unit of Tenaska Inc., said it completed nonrecourse project financing for the 885 Mw combined cycle, gas-fired Tenaska Central Alabama generating station. The facility, Tenaska’s second in Alabama, is to be constructed in Autauga County. Construction will begin in June, with operations expected in spring 2003, the company said. Under a tolling agreement with Coral Power LLC, Houston, the Tenaska facility will convert fuel owned and supplied by Coral into electricity, which Coral will market throughout the Southeast region’s wholesale power market.

PECO Energy, Philadelphia, Penn., a unit of Exelon Corp., said it allocated $10 million to 30 new projects in Philadelphia to improve service reliability. Improvements will include replacement of more than 30,000 ft of electrical cable in northeast and southwest Philadelphia, underground equipment replacement in 13 neighborhoods, electrical conductor upgrades in Olde City and Rittenhouse Square, and installation of smart switches that can automatically sense and correct circuit problems. Also, PECO’s Callowhill substation will be expanded 48 Mw.

ScottishPower PLC, Glasgow, Scotland, said the Oregon Public Utility Commission deferred a request by its US subsidiary PacifiCorp for a $43.5 million, as amended to $17.5 million, increase in its rates to offset high power costs for 3 months. The company said PacifiCorp will continue to pursue recovery of such costs and the request for a power cost adjustment mechanism as part of the general rate case in Oregon due to conclude in August 2001.