BPA commits to California geothermal plant

Herald news services

PORTLAND — The Bonneville Power Administration has signed an agreement with Calpine Corp. to buy up to 49.9 megawatts of electricity from the Fourmile Hill geothermal project in Northern California if the company can find a commercially developable source of steam at the site.

Although a developable resource has been identified elsewhere in the area, none has yet been found at the Fourmile Hill site just south of the Oregon border.

Calpine expects to begin exploratory drilling next spring and, if a source is found, the plant could begin operating in late 2004, officials said in a statement issued Friday.

  • Friday’s prices: Gold sold for $269.20 a troy ounce, silver for $4.71 and platinum for $612.00.

  • Manufacturing declines: Manufacturing activity declined for the fourth month in a row in November, an industry group reported Friday. The National Association of Purchasing Management said its purchasing index fell to 47.7 percent in November, down from the 48.3 it reported in October and slightly weaker than the 48.0 percent level that analysts anticipated.

  • Auto sales slowing: Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler side of DaimlerChrysler AG said they would idle passenger car plants in December to cut inventories. General Motors Corp., which saw its sales fall along with Ford and Chrysler, said it had an inventory backlog but did not announce any plant closings.

  • Iraq halts shipments: Iraq cut off its shipments of crude oil Friday in a fresh test of U.N. trade sanctions, after the world body failed to authorize a new payment arrangement for Iraqi exports. Analysts said Baghdad timed its move in an effort to cause maximum disruption at a time when oil inventories are tight.

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