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9:41 PM Sat, Jan. 19th

Power plant start-up delayed

Start-up for the Griffith Energy Plant has been delayed until mid-September, plant manager Dave Bowers said Wednesday.

The $250 million 600-megawatt gas-fired energy plant was originally scheduled for an early July start up according to Ian Calkins of the Copper State Consulting Group, a Phoenix company that represents Griffith.

The natural gas-fired power plant had tentatively scheduled a dedication ceremony Aug.

2 at the location off I-40 south of Kingman.

It was planned that Gov.

Jane Hull would pull the switch, Calkins said.

"The start up has been delayed by last-minute testing needs," Copper State Consulting's Stan Barnes said from Phoenix.

"The plant has complex machines to be tested and readied for start up.

People are on the ground at the plant to make that happen."

Barnes said he could not give a firm date for the plant to begin operations.

Bowers said the performance and capability testing began earlier this month.

"The testing we are doing is normal and complex," Bowers said.

"We have no official start up date but estimate mid-September."

Construction of the plant began in 1999.

Bowers said the design included working with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to increase the power line capacity and put the plant and Mohave County in the western area power transmission system.

"It required larger wires on the same transmission towers," Bowers said.

The Griffith Energy facility is a merchant generating plant that will sell electricity in the marketplace as a commodity.

The power generated can be sold anywhere the company develops contracts with users.

The shortage of electricity in California has helped increase the number of merchant plants proposed for construction in Arizona, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Each of the 600 megawatts generated can serve from 250 to 500 homes.

The power plant has 25 employees and is owned by PPL Global of Fairfax, Va., and Duke Energy of North America located in Houston, Texas.

PPL Global is promoting the plant in full-page ads that have appeared in Newsweek, Forbes and other national publications.

A second merchant plant, The Big Sandy Energy Project proposed by Caithness at a site near Wikieup, is before the ACC for a siting decision.

A hearing before the Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee was held Monday in Phoenix to take additional testimony.

Heather Murphy of the ACC said no decision was made Monday and the hearing was continued to Sept.

12 at a site to be determined, probably in Phoenix.

Murphy said the September decision deadline on the site could be waived by agreement of the parties.

One waiver has been granted during the process for siting the project.