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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1999

choose from among a portfolio of rate options under the bill, which would include at minimum a renewable option (hydro would be included) and a market-based rate option. See www.leg.state.or.us/bills.html.

Net Metering. A week after passing an electric deregulation bill (Senate Bill 1149, signed into law on July 23), the Oregon legislature continued its reshaping of the industry in the state by passing House Bill 3219, which would require utilities to provide net metering services for customers with on-site solar, wind, fuel, fuel cell or hydroelectric generators having capacity of up to 25 kilowatts. The governor had not signed the bill as of Aug. 12, and in an earlier press release said that state law allowed him until Sept. 3 to act. See www.leg.state.or.us/bills.html.

Merchant Plant Tax Breaks. After an inquiry from state representatives Mary Ann Middaugh and Mark Schauer, Michigan attorney general Jennifer Granholm ruled that a merchant power plant owned by someone other than a regulated electric utility would not qualify as industrial property eligible for certain personal and real property tax exemptions allowed under state law for certain industrial rehabilitation and development districts. Opinion No. 7027, Aug. 5, 1999.

Business Wire

New Energy Ventures Inc., which is becoming NewEnergy Inc., will provide electricity to California Steel Industries Inc.'s Fontana facility, which consumes almost 30,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Under the terms of the agreement, NewEnergy will procure electricity for CSI, and CSI has the option of purchasing site generation products from NewEnergy. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has issued a business license to NewEnergy, making the company one of the first providers able to sign customers in the state.

GE Power Systems of the United States and BP Amoco of the United Kingdom have received final approval from the British government to construct a $500 million, 500-megawatt power plant at the Baglan Energy Park in South Wales that will be the world's most efficient gas-fired power station when it enters service in 2002. The new plant will be based on GE's advanced technology H System(, which is designed to reach 60 percent fuel efficiency in combined-cycle operation, long considered the "four-minute mile" of the power generation industry.

Idaho Power has chosen SPL WorldGroup Inc.'s CIS PLUS(r) software product to replace its 20-year-old legacy customer information system. Idaho Power serves 700,000 people in southern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada.

Gas Research Institute and Energy International Inc. have formed a joint venture to provide international technology transfer of natural gas distribution products to and from North American markets. The new company, TplusSM, initially will focus on global technology transfer activities for natural gas distribution utilities. Tplus will offer technical and business assessments of distribution technology, expertise in transferring technology in the international arena and management of investment capital to bring energy-related technologies to commercial application.

To aid in the development of promising and efficient emission-reduction technologies for itself and the electric power industry, Carolina Power & Light is testing two evolving systems at coal-fired power plants in Buncombe and Robeson counties. On an 80-MW