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Affordable Power for Colorado Takes Step Forward; $180 Million Offered to Tap Energy of Rockies

DENVER, Nov 04, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

North American Power Group Takes Steps to Ensure Transmission Lines for Power Delivery; Project Could Open Gateway for Expanded Wind Power Development

North American Power Group (NAPG), a Denver company, today announced that it is moving forward on a significant transmission project that could bring clean, low-cost electrical power from Wyoming's Powder River Basin and Northern Colorado to Colorado consumers.

Construction of the transmission system is contingent upon acceptance by Xcel Energy of NAPG's proposal to build a 586 MW clean coal project, and a final agreement between the parties. The transmission system envisioned will be capable of carrying the electricity from the NAPG project as well as from several additional generation sources, including wind.

NAPG will seek input from interested parties to study the technical and economic feasibility of the project, analyze environmental and regulatory issues, and help arrange financing. NAPG anticipates that it and Xcel Energy will work with regional utilities, transmission planning groups and other interested parties who also have recently expressed a desire to see the line built.

"This transmission project could be a significant step forward for Colorado consumers and Wyoming producers," said NAPG President Michael J. Ruffatto. "We are excited by the opportunity to serve Colorado's growing energy needs with electricity generated from clean coal technologies in Wyoming's Powder River Basin and from renewable energy in both Colorado and Wyoming. Twenty per cent of U.S. coal is in our area, and needs new transmission lines to get it to the Western states."

"This project, identified as Path 39, is deemed a cost effective, high value project that would enhance the North American grid. It provides a market avenue for a reliable source of abundant wind and coal generated power," explains Mr. Ruffatto.

The transmission project, which would be the first major upgrade of the so-called "TOT 3" interconnection line, would carry power from NAPG's clean coal project, and would provide additional capacity for the development of other electrical generation, including wind energy. NAPG submitted a proposal to Xcel Energy earlier this year for the 586 MW clean coal project.

A Strategic Transmission Resource

Improving the TOT3 interconnection lines has long been a goal of Western leaders. The current lines have limited capacity and become a choke point for delivering low-cost electricity from the Powder River Basin to the Western United States. Lynn Greene, an attorney at Moye White in Denver stated, "The cheapest energy in all of North America is the combination of wind and coal in the Rockies. The fast-rising cost of diesel fuel, lack of railroad cars, and old electricity wires and poles keeps this new, clean coal and wind power at bay, and raises its cost. Washington just gave us the new Energy Act to make it easier for the Rockies to solve many of this country's energy and economic challenges. With Xcel Energy's leadership, Colorado can be responsible for getting this cheap energy to the fast-growing Western states."

According to an analysis of NAPG's coal power project proposal, Xcel Energy estimated that building the 290-mile line and integrating a proposed generator into Xcel Energy's system would cost approximately $180 million.

Mr. Ruffatto stated that NAPG has reached a preliminary agreement with InfraSource Transmission Services Company, a leading provider of infrastructure services for the electric power industry, to build the associated 290-mile transmission line from Wyoming to the Denver Metro Area.

In its preliminary agreement with NAPG, InfraSource indicates that it could build the line within the time and budget limits identified by the power studies. "As premier constructors and designers of overhead transmission systems, we are confident of InfraSource's proven capabilities to be able to deliver this project on time and on budget, as well demonstrated by their exemplary performance on PATH 15," said Mr. Ruffatto.

Clean Coal Technology Benefits

NAPG's 586 MW project would be located on land already owned by the company in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, adjacent to the largest coal mines in the United States. The plant could use a variety of clean coal technologies. NAPG is currently evaluating the project to determine if it will include Integrated Gasification and Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology in plant design.

In addition, the proposed plant would be built at the source of coal, thereby eliminating the environmental and economic costs of shipping coal by railroad. "We want to bring energy to consumers by wire as well as by rail," said Ruffatto. "It just makes sense to generate power from coal at its source rather than moving more coal across the country in mile-long trains."

Construction of the transmission line would also open up a distribution pipeline for wind energy development. Wyoming and Northern Colorado have the potential to generate more than 85,000MW of power, according to the American Wind Energy Association. What is lacking is the ability to get the energy generated from the wind onto the transmission grid and into consumer's homes.

"This is a project that could have long-term benefits for the Rocky Mountain region," said Ruffatto. "Colorado consumers would benefit from access to low-cost electricity. The state of Wyoming wins by exporting a finished product -- electricity -- rather than just the raw product. And renewable energy gains a valuable link to a burgeoning market."

About North American Power Group

Established in 1992, North American Power Group, Ltd. (NAPG) has been a leader in using new technologies and resources to generate electricity without harming the environment. It develops, owns, operates and manages energy related projects. In addition to the clean coal projects in Wyoming, NAPG currently owns and operates seven cogeneration and other facilities in California and one in Rhode Island. Go to http://www.napg-ltd.com for more information.

For Further Information Contact:
     Cynthia Radke
     North American Power Group
     (303) 796-8600
     [email protected]
SOURCE North American Power Group

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