Saturday, July 08, 2000

Ind. power plant on its way

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In Dearborn County's biggest economic development since the Argosy Casino, a New Jersey utility said Friday that it is going ahead with plans for a “merchant” power plant in Lawrenceburg.

        Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., of Newark, N.J., said it would spend $1 billion in the next two years to build four power plants in the Midwest, including the Lawrenceburg plant, first disclosed in March.

        At the time, PSEG said it was considering investing more than $200 million in the Lawrenceburg plant, which would sell its power to other utilities on a wholesale basis, but it hadn't made a final decision.

        PSEG said its PSEG

        Global unit plans to build two natural-gas power plants in Indiana, and one each in Ohio and Illinois. The plants' total generating capacity will be 2,450 megawatts, enough to light about 2.4 million homes. All four plants are expected to be operating in 2002.

        The Lawrenceburg plant will be the largest with a capacity of 1,150 megawatts. The others are a 850-megawatt plant planned for Waterford in eastern Ohio; a 200-megawatt plant in Morristown, Ind., near Indianapolis; and a 500-megawatt plant in Sidney, Ill., near Champaign in east-central Illinois.

        Dearborn County officials have said that the PSEG plant would employ 35 when it begins operating and about 400 workers to build the facility.

        The plant, which would be ad jacent to American Electric Power's Tanners Creek power station along the Ohio River, would also produce more than $3 million in annual tax revenues, officials said.

        Public Service has been looking for new sources of revenue because it lost its monopoly to sell electricity and gas to its utility customers in New Jersey. That state's utility markets opened to competition last year.

        The company formed a joint venture with closely held Panda Energy International Inc. last year to build three power plants in Texas for $1.3 billion. The plants are expected to be in service in 2002.

        Public Service also has investments in Argentina, China, Peru and Venezuela. Its Public Service Electric & Gas Co. unit sells power to 1.9 million electricity and 1.6 million gas customers in New Jersey.

        Bloomberg News contributed to this report.


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