NRG paying $244M for Corpus Christi power plant

Power provider NRG Energy is paying roughly $244 million to buy a Corpus Christi cogeneration power plant that will expand the company’s electricity capacity in a part of the state where it is seeking to grow its customer base.

The company, with headquarters in Houston and Princeton, N.J., said Monday it has entered into an agreement with a group of affiliates of Atlantic Power Corp., John Hancock Life Insurance Co., and Rockland Capital LLC to acquire the Gregory plant.

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The plant has generation capacity of roughly 400 megawatts and steam capacity of 160 megawatts of electricity equivalent.

“The addition of what is, in effect, a six heat rate, fast start, gas-fueled plant at a significant discount to replacement cost is an invaluable addition to our Texas fleet, particularly at this time with market rules and supply conditions in Texas placing a premium on flexible operations,” NRG chief David Crane said in a statement.

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NRG said the Gregory plant provides steam, processed water and a small percentage of its electrical generation to the Corpus Christi Sherwin Alumina plant. The majority of the electricity generated by the plant is available for sale in ERCOT, the independent system operator for the region.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers – representing 85 percent of the state’s electric load.

The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, is subject to regulatory approval.

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Veteran newsman currently covering energy for The Houston Chronicle. Spent 12 years at The Associated Press covering energy, airlines, general business news, legal affairs, politics and state and federal government issues. Won or shared numerous awards and award nominations for coverage of the Gulf oil spill, Delta Air Lines, the Atlanta courthouse shootings and the murders of two Dartmouth College professors. Prior to AP, worked at two daily newspapers in the Boston area.