HOUSTON Dec 26 Salt River Project, the largest
supplier of electricity in the Phoenix area, has agreed to buy a
625-MW, natural gas power plant in Arizona from a unit of Sempra
Energy for $371 million, the companies said on
Salt River Project, or SRP, will buy one of two units at the
Mesquite Power plant near Arlington, Arizona and a 50-percent
interest in the plant's infrastructure for about $594 per
"Load growth is relatively small right now, but when it
returns, this plant will position us well in the long term to
meet our customers' needs at a reasonable cost," said SRP
general manager Mark Bonsall, in a statement.
The purchase, which is subject to approval from the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies, may close in
the first quarter of 2013.
SRP also will become the operator of both units at the
Mesquite power plant which has been in service since 2003. The
plant is located about 47 miles (75 km) west of Phoenix.
The sale by Sempra U.S. Gas and Power will reduce that
company's "exposure to the merchant power markets while also
allowing us to put greater emphasis on growing our southeast
natural gas portfolio," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president of
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. The deal "will enable us to redeploy
capital to expand our growing presence in the natural gas