PG&E NEG Breaks Ground on 1,048 MW Harquahala Plant

After years of planning and regulatory hurdles, PG&E Corp.'s National Energy Group (PG&E NEG) began construction last week on the Harquahala Generating Plant, a 1,048 MW natural gas-fired generating facility located approximately 70 miles west of Phoenix in the town of Tonopah, AZ (see NGI, Aug. 21, 2000).

The $500 million project is expected to help ease the burden of the surrounding electricity markets, which are currently very tight. The company said it envisions selling power in the fast-growing, three-state market of Arizona, southern Nevada and Southern California. The plant is scheduled to be in full commercial operation by June 2003.

"Today's (Monday) groundbreaking is an important milestone for electricity consumers in Arizona and the Southwest, as well as for the National Energy Group," said Tom Boren, CEO of PG&E NEG. "Clean, efficient, affordable, electricity. That's what the Harquahala Generating Project is all about."

The Shaw Group reported Wednesday that it has entered an agreement to provide the engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. Shaw said it will assume engineering duties immediately.

The gas supply for the plant will come from the El Paso Natural Gas System, which is located near its site. The plant is also located next to major transmission lines serving the three-state area and northern Mexico. With a fuel requirement averaging about 180 MMcf/d, PG&E NEG will have firm transportation agreements and then play the markets in the West and Southeast, according to Jim Tramuto, a Houston-based manager for NEG.

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