In a deal highlighting power developers' bullish outlook on the growth of the U.S. market, Bethesda, Md.-based PG&E National Energy Group has announced a plan to purchase 50 turbines at a cost of nearly $7.8 billion from three different manufacturers. PG&E National plans to use the turbines to help in the addition of nearly 16,000 Mw of capacity nationwide.

As part of what PG&E National calls an innovative approach to financing power projects, French banking giant Société Générale will back a complex transaction that will provide for the turbine purchases and related project costs without any near-term cash outlays from PG&E Corp., PG&E National's parent.

PG&E's purchase agreement, announced last month, includes 21 turbines from Mitsubishi, 23 from GE Power Systems and six from Siemens Westinghouse, all to be delivered by the end of 2004. Société Générale will finance all but the six turbines from Siemens Westinghouse.

Although the developer has not disclosed where the turbines will be located, PG&E National is expected to start construction on a flood of powerplants over the next year, many of them in fast-growing western and Pacific states. Most recently, the company Sept. 29 announced plans to enter the Nevada market with its Meadow Valley plant, a 1,000-Mw merchant plant on a 160-acre site near Moapa in northeastern Clark County, near Las Vegas. The natural-gas-fired, combined-cycle plant is scheduled for a late-2001 construction start and completion in early 2004.

By the end of the year PG&E National plans to start construction on the Harquahala Generating Project, a 1,040-Mw gas-fired plant in Arizona's Maricopa County, scheduled to come on line in 2003. And in early 2001, construction begins on the Otay Mesa project near San Diego. PG&E National last month broke new ground with a deal to offset the nitrogen oxide emissions at the 500-Mw facility by replacing a waste hauler's diesel trucks with a fleet fueled by natural gas (ENR 9/25 p. 15).

PG&E National Energy Group is ranked 14th on the list of the top private power companies by net project ownership in a survey by McGraw-Hill's Global Power Report. Its net equity as of July was 7,530 Mw of electric generation capacity. The developer had seven plants and 2,329 Mw in construction and 10 plants and 8,332 Mw in development.