GRAYS HARBOR, WA-Low-cost power has prompted yet another stoppage in power plant construction in the Northwest.

Duke Energy has stopped construction on the 620-watt facility here and two others in Clark County, Nev. and Luna County, N.M. The company says it will have minimum staffing at the facility to provide security and maintain the condition of equipment already in place.

“As forward wholesale markets change in a region, we sharpen our focus on optimizing the operation and value of our existing assets and carefully evaluate construction of new facilities,” says Jim Donnell, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy North America (DENA), which develops merchant plants to provide power to the competitive wholesale market. “Thewestern market has seen a dramatic decline in the economics of bringing any new generation on line for summer 2003, the previous schedule for these facilities. We will continue to evaluate the market and determine an appropriate time to re-establish a construction schedule.” recently reported that Duke also had stopped work on a 650-watt facility in Satsop, Wash. and 10 others in the western United States. Construction was to be completed next year. Similarly, Mirant Corp. halted construction on a 270-watt gas fired power plant in Longview, Wash.’s Mint Farm industrial park.

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