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PHOENIX-Construction has begun on a $1-billion power generation plant west of Phoenix that will supply enough energy for one million people, according to a company official.

Pinnacle West Energy, a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp., has broken ground on Redhawk Power Plant, which will generate 2,120-megawatts when completed. The plant is located near the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, owned by Pinnacle West, which is about 55 miles west of Phoenix.

“This is a major accomplishment for us, as well as for customers throughout Arizona and the West,” says Bill Stewart, president of Pinnacle West Energy. “This project, along with others we have announced, will allow us to help meet increasing demands for power in Arizona and markets across the Southwest and, at the same time, promote a competitive market that will ultimately benefit customers.”

Redhawk’s first phase–two 530-watt units–are expected to become operational in the summer of 2002.

The plant, which will be connected to the Palo Verde station power grid, will produce electricity that will be distributed across Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and California.

As deregulation looms, Pinnacle West is positioning itself to be a market leader in the Southwest. The company owns Arizona Public Service, which has seven stations in Arizona and one in New Mexico. The company began expanding its capacity at its West Phoenix Power Plant in July, adding a 120-megawatt, combined-cycle unit that should be completed by next summer. A larger, 530-megawatt, combined-cycle unit is also under construction.

Pinnacle West also is purchasing the Harry Allen Power Station in southern Nevada for $65.2 million. This will allow the company to expand generating capacity in the West. As demand grows, the company expects to add a 500-megawatt, natural-gas-fired, combined-cycle unit to the site.

“In southern Nevada alone, particularly Las Vegas, electricity needs are growing four times faster than the national average,” notes Stewart.

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