Edison Adds to CA Power Base

Edison Mission Energy (EME), an affiliate of Southern California Edison, said it has acquired the rights to a 320 MW natural gas-fired peaking power facility in Kern County --- which could be online by next August --- and is offering to sell the power to the state.

"From the onset of the California power crisis, we have sought to find means to bring new power to the California market," said John E. Bryson, chairman of parent Edison International. "After months of negotiations, we have finalized an agreement on a critical new project ...We intend to offer this power by contract to the state so that the pricing for it does not depend on California's broken deregulated power market."

"To have a positive impact next summer, we must receive acceptance confirmation from the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) very quickly," said Alan J. Fohrer, president and CEO of EME. The company expects to receive the necessary permits soon to begin construction on Dec. 7.

"EME will also seek to enter into a long-term, cost-based contract with either Pacific Gas & Electric Co. or San Diego Gas & Electric Co., to further ensure that California's consumers reap the benefit of this additional power resource," Fohrer said. EME bought the rights to construct the project in Kern County from Texaco Power and Gasification.

The Sunrise Power Project will be completed in two phases. Phase I will consist of a 320 MW simple-cycle peaking facility scheduled to be in service during the summer 2001. Phase II will convert the peaking facility to a 560 MW, combined-cycle operation with an in-service date of summer 2003.

"EME is pleased to have acquired the Sunrise Project from Texaco, with whom we have a long history of jointly developing and operating power projects," Fohrer said. "Our thanks and appreciation go to the various regulatory agencies for their swift consideration of this important project."

Final regulatory approvals should be received shortly for Phase I of the project. EME plans to seek expedited permitting approval for the Phase II expansion in line with the fast-track approvals process recently enacted by the California legislature.

EME has also negotiated an agreement with the labor unions for an adequate supply of highly skilled labor in order to achieve a fast track construction schedule. The fast track schedule is aimed at providing this additional power to California by next summer.

A report issued last week by the California Energy Commission said that with new power plants and temporary peaking units going on line next summer the state should be able to meet its power needs, barring extraordinarily hot weather. (see related story, this issue) Calpine, which has projects pending in the California area for 7,700 MW over the next five years, expects 1,000 MW baseload will be completed for next summer.

EME specializes in the development, acquisition, construction management and operation of global power production facilities. It owns nearly 23,000 MW of generating capacity. Ellen Beswick

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