AEP/Dow, Calpine Building Louisiana Power Plants

It doesn't appear Louisiana is going to run out of power any time soon. American Electric Power and Dow Chemical last week announced plans are going forward to construct a 900 MW natural gas-fired cogeneration plant at Dow's chemical complex in Plaquemine, LA, at the same time Calpine Corp. revealed it has acquired the development rights from Cogentrix for the 500 MW Washington Parish Energy Center, located near Bogalusa.

AEP said it also signed a 20-year contract for an undisclosed amount to sell all of the facility's generation to Tractebel SA's energy marketing unit once it is online, expected in early 2003. Construction of the $325 million facility, scheduled to begin this year, was first announced last June. Columbus, OH-based AEP will develop the state-of-the-art facility and subsidiary AEP Pro Serv will assume contract responsibilities. Dow will operate the facility, which will be fueled by AEP's Louisiana Interstate Gas Pipeline. About 620 MW of baseload capacity will come from four General Electric gas turbines operating in combined cycle and 280 MW of peaking capacity.

Meanwhile, site preparation is under way for the Washington Parish facility, with construction expected to begin shortly. Calpine will manage construction and will operate the $300 million facility when it enters commercial operation in mid-2002. The generating plant will use two General Electric Frame 7FA gas combustion turbines in combined-cycle with a single steam turbine, representing approximately 490 MW of base load capacity, with the ability to produce up to 577 MW during periods of peak power demand. The facility will use clean natural gas in conjunction with an advanced emissions control system, and will be among the cleanest electric power resources in the State, its sponsors claim.

Rocco Canonica

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