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California

Constellation to Begin Work on Power Plant

April 05, 2001|NANCY RIVERA BROOKS

Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group will break ground today on a 750-megawatt power plant in Victorville, the first major electricity plant to be built in Southern California in more than a decade.

The $450-million generating plant, called the High Desert Power Project, will produce enough power to serve nearly 600,000 homes when it is completed in July 2003. The natural-gas-fueled plant is designed to use one-third less fuel than other electricity plants in California and will be one of the cleanest gas-fired plants in the nation, Constellation said.

Constellation recently signed a 10-year electricity contract with the California Department of Water Resources, the state's primary electricity shopper. The contract includes power from the High Desert plant.

Constellation, which first applied to build the plant in 1997, considered abandoning the project as the regulatory uncertainty grew in the midst of the state's electricity crisis, said Eric P. Grubman, Constellation co-president. But Constellation decided "this was a realistic risk for a company our size to take," he said.

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