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Capstone Turbine Forms Unit Aimed at California

February 22, 2001|From Bloomberg News

Capstone Turbine Corp., a maker of power generators for homes and small businesses, said Wednesday it formed a unit to target growing demand in California for alternative energy sources.

The Chatsworth-based company makes 30-kilowatt and 60-kilowatt natural gas turbines that produce enough electricity to power a convenience store or typical office building. It formed Capstone California to take advantage of demand spurred by the state's energy crisis, Capstone said.

Capstone expects to complete 2,000 to 4,000 generators this year, at least double last year's production, company spokesman Keith Field said. A shortage of electronic components for the 60-kilowatt model has limited production, he said.

Rising demand and lower-than-normal hydroelectric supplies have made electricity a scarce commodity in recent months, prompting California businesses to seek more reliable sources of power. The state authorized power blackouts twice in January, and the power grid operator remains on alert.

Capstone California plans to open offices in Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Orange County and the San Francisco area.

California Gov. Gray Davis wants to build an additional 5,000 megawatts of generating capacity to meet demand this summer and avoid the possibility of more rolling blackouts.

The state's energy crisis has raised expectations that alternative power technologies might win broader acceptance, helping to boost the shares of makers of small generators, solar panels and energy conservation devices.

Capstone shares fell $2.19 to close at $25.94 on Nasdaq. They have risen 62% since the company first sold shares to the public in June.

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