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Excess energy purchases may help California

BC Hydro, a Canadian provincially owned utility, is offering to buy excess energy from independent power producers (IPPs) in order to sell the power in the energy spot market.

The recently announced move is directed to enable IPPs to use up any idle capacity and provide supplies for the energy-starved market in Cali-fornia and the western US states.

With this in mind, one of British Columbia’s largest mining companies, Cominco of Vancouver, has been cutting back on zinc production. At current metal prices Cominco can make more money through selling power to an unnamed customer in the US at market rates.

The company is capable of doing this because it can meet its own power requirements through a hydroelectric generating facility at the Waneta dam, near its smelting operation at Trail, BC. It also has a transmission line which connects the Waneta generator to the Bonneville power grid in the US, enabling it to sell surplus power without gaining permission from BC Hydro.

…TransCanada sets its sights on US hydro plants

TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TCPL) of Calgary, Canada, has announced that it intends to purchase the Curtis Palmer Hydroelectric Company (CPHC) from International Paper of the US. Reports suggest the sale is worth approximately US$285M. Pending approvals, the deal is expected to be closed by June 2001. CPHC owns and operates two hydroelectric plants near Corinth, New York, and sells the output from the plants under a fixed price power purchase agreement to Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation (NiMo). The remaining term in the agreement with NiMo is in excess of 25 years. The CPHC hydro facilities are located on the banks of the Hudson river and have a total generating capacity of 60MW. Last year, the plants were relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for another 40 years.