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PPL Corp. Goes West in A Big Way

PPL Corp. Goes West in A Big Way

Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. has recently taken on a "Go West" theme, as evidenced by its plans to build 1,800 MW of new electricity generation on the left coast at an estimated development cost of $900 million.

PPL's development subsidiary, PPL Global, LLC will build a 1,200 MW natural gas-fired plant in eastern Washington State at $600 million and a 600 MW peaking gas-fired facility in Pinal County, AZ for $300 million.

"These new power plants will expand our ability to provide much-needed electricity to customers in 14 Western states - and they will do so with clean-burning natural gas," said Paul T. Champagne, president of PPL Global, LLC. "The addition of these power plants will more than double PPL's generating capacity in the western U.S., a key region in PPL's development plans."

The company said it has entered an agreement with Northwest Power Enterprises to purchase Starbuck Power Co. LLC, which owns the rights for the proposed 1,200 MW plant. The facility, which is expected to be in service as early as 2004, will be called PPL Starbuck and will be located in Columbia County, WA, near the town of Starbuck. "PPL has the resources to follow through on this project, which will help alleviate the shortage of electricity in the Northwest," said Steven Strasser, CEO of Northwest Power.

Champagne reported that the 600 MW Arizona plant named PPL Sundance is expected to be in service in time to meet the summer 2002 peak. The facility "is uniquely positioned to serve the growing demands of the Phoenix metropolitan area," said Champagne.

PPL plans to power the new facilities with General Electric gas-fired combustion turbines. In October, PPL acquired 30 turbines with the option to take up to an additional 36 units. The CEO said with the most recently announced facilities, the company would have to expand on its 30 turbine firm order.

With over 10,140 MW on the East Coast and 1,456 MW currently on the West Coast, Champagne said that the Arizona and Washington plants bring the company up to about two-thirds of the way to its objective of controlling 20,000 MW by the middle of this decade.

Alex Steis

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