Constellation Energy to build power plant near Chicago

Utilities

July 06, 2000|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Constellation Energy Group said yesterday that it will build a $130 million natural gas-fired power plant near Chicago, continuing the biggest construction program in the history of the company.

The 300-megawatt plant is expected to begin operating by July 2001, said Michael W. Delaney, spokesperson for Constellation Energy Group Inc.

"There is a specific need in the Midwest and in the Chicago region for wholesale energy," Delaney said. "There's a consumer demand for electricity in the Midwest, and it makes strategic sense for Constellation to control the output of power in that region."

Company officials said capacity for electricity in the wholesale Chicago market has fallen to critical levels in recent months. The new power plant will be a "peaking" unit, meaning it will provide electric power when customer demand increases dramatically during hot summer and cold winter months, Delaney said.

Last month, Constellation Power Source Inc., parent of Constellation Energy Group, announced construction of a similar plant in Bristol, Va., and is expected to announce plans to build several more merchant power plants this year. The company also recently placed orders for almost a dozen gas-fired plants producing about 5,100 megawatts of energy in states including Florida, Illinois and Texas. Some of these plants will also begin operating by summer 2001.

Constellation Energy Group markets and trades electricity in wholesale power markets across the United States. It is the parent of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

Constellation's shares closed at $32.5625 yesterday, down 25 cents.

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