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ELP Volume 77 Issue 10

Natural gas price trend shifts upward

Contrary to most standing predictions, natural gas prices may be getting ready to start climbing. The electric power industry`s consumption is driving growth in the natural gas industry, and the gas producers just can`t keep up. Low natural gas prices combined with leaps in efficiency through technological advances, such as combined-cycle applications, have created "great value" in gas-fired electric facilities, according to Forrest Hoglund, Enron Oil & Gas chairman, recently retired. Enron Oil

New Zealand companies eye U.S. Market

Note: Steven Wood traveled to New Zealand in June as a guest of the New Zealand Trade Development Board. During his week-long visit, he interviewed more than 20 companies involved in the utility industry, government officials and utility companies to ascertain the pros and cons of New Zealand`s reform and New Zealand companies` interest in the U.S. electricity market.

NSP to join Midwest ISO:

Northern States Power will join the Midwest ISO under an agreement reached with several Wisconsin utilities and consumer groups. NSP previously promised to join after its merger with New Century Energies, but the agreement obligates NSP to join regardless of the outcome of the merger proceedings.

AES expands retail energy supply business:

AES Corp. formed a new subsidiary, Power Direct, to compete for electricity and natural gas retail customers (residential and small to mid-sized commercial) in U.S. markets.

Coal market gears up for next millennium

Historically, coal has been one of the main fuels of choice for electric power generation in the United States over the past 50 years. With a continuing strong growth, coal demand can be expected to increase. However, the continuation of these trends into the next millennium will also depend upon changes in electricity and coal market structures, national environmental policy, and technology trends.

Washington rep. to introduce net metering legislation:

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) plans to introduce a bill, entitled the Home Energy Generation Act, to remove regulatory barriers to net metering nationwide. The bill would allow electricity customers who generate electricity from renewable energy sources and fuel cells to be credited for any excess energy fed back to the local utility.