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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- PacifiCorp has picked Summit Vineyard LLC of Denver to build a 534-megawatt, natural-gas-fired power plant on part of the former Geneva Steel site in Utah County.
However, a losing bidder said it will dispute the selection.
PacifiCorp said Monday it will enter into an asset purchase and sale agreement with Summit to develop the $330 million plant in partnership with Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp.
When construction is completed, PacifiCorp will own and operate the plant, and Siemens Westinghouse will provide a long-term service agreement.
The utility said Summit's bid was the best of 52 offers.
However, Calpine Corp. of San Jose, Calif., said it will contest the selection when PacifiCorp seeks approval from the Utah Public Service Commission.
Calpine had offered to build a plant that it would own, selling the power to PacifiCorp.
"Summit is a similar project, but it delivers earnings to PacifiCorp, whereas a power purchase agreement with Calpine does not," Calpine spokesman Kent Robertson said. "It certainly has the appearance that (PacifiCorp) has chosen its shareholders over its ratepayers, unfortunately."
PacifiCorp spokesman Dave Eskelsen said the utility believes it can demonstrate clearly in a commission hearing that the selection and evaluation process was fair.
"We believe we've done a prudent analysis of our two finalists. Based on that analysis, we've tried to pick the option that's in the best interest of customers, because that's the way we get shareholder value," Eskelsen said.
The commission process could take six months, and it could be as controversial as the February hearings on the Currant Creek project near Mona. PacifiCorp picked itself from more than 100 bids to build the project and was upheld by the commission.
Robertson said PacifiCorp's latest decision raises the same questions it faced over the fairness of its bidding process in the 525-megawatt Currant Creek project.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)