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Thermo Companies


University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, Colorado



Fort Lupton
Fort Lupton, Colorado


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Fort Lupton
Fort Lupton, Colorado


ConAgra
Greely, Colorado
In 1984, the Thermo Companies first became involved in the independent energy business both as a developer of cogeneration facilities and in the exploration and production of natural gas. Thermo was the developer of the $60 million 76 MW electric energy system and steam generating plant at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. The facility still supplies all of the hot water and steam necessary to heat and cool the campus, sells electrical energy to Xcel Energy, operates with two General Electric LM-5000 turbines packaged by Stewart & Stevenson and uses approximately 15 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Until Thermo's other power projects came on line it was the largest single consumer of natural gas in Colorado. The plant, financed by Prudential Insurance Company, has been featured in national magazines as an example of public/private partnership and energy conservation.

In 1992 Thermo began construction of two more Colorado power projects which cost in excess of $250 million. The 122 MW first phase of Ft. Lupton began the commercial generation of electricity during the second quarter of 1994. The 150 MW second phase began operation one month later. These two facilities, operating in tandem, consume an average of 30-40 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, surpassing the University project as the state's largest natural gas consumer.

Both phases of the Ft. Lupton project are approximately twenty-five miles north of Denver in an industrial park originally owned by Thermo. Thermo also owned the one million square foot greenhouse, packing, and administration facility which was leased to the largest tomato greenhousing company in North America. The two phases of the Ft. Lupton project utilize five General Electric LM-6000 gas turbines also packaged by Stewart & Stevenson. Approximately $227 million of financing was arranged through Kidder Peabody, Prudential Insurance Company, Fuji Bank, and Central and Southwest Corporation, a unit of American Electric Power. Central and Southwest also purchased an equity interest in these facilities.

In 1996 Thermo began operations at a fourth facility. Thermo's project at the ConAgra meatpacking facility in Greeley, Colorado is located approximately three miles from the University of Northern Colorado project. This project is also an LM-6000 facility which sells electricity to Xcel Energy and thermal energy to ConAgra.

Thermo established a partnership with Kinder Morgan, a natural gas and petroleum liquids transportation company with other operations in coal terminalling and carbon dioxide transportation, to own all of the operating cogeneration plants and to develop and construct up to ten additional power projects. The planned facilities were to be approximately 500 MW each and were to be designed and constructed utilizing proprietary concepts developed by Thermo. Orders were placed with Stewart and Stevenson's Gas Turbine Division, now wholly owned by General Electric, for all of the major power generation equipment. If fully constructed, these projects would require capital of approximately $2.5 billion. Each plant is designed with six LM-6000 and one GE frame 7 gas turbine generators and two steam turbine generators operating in combined cycle. The first two projects began commercial operation. The facilities benefit from being located on or near the Kinder Morgan gas transmission systems, assuring adequate sources of fuel and increased through-put across Kinder Morgan's gas transmission network.

Through a series of acquisitions and drilling programs in Colorado and Kansas, Thermo and Kinder Morgan grew their local natural gas operations to over 150 wells and approximately 563 billion cubic feet ("Bcf") of gas reserves. Thermo's primary drilling programs achieved greater success than historical average results in the area. By using improved seismic techniques, success rates increased from 75% to over 95%, this in an area which historically averaged only 50%. Improvements in seismic and well completion techniques also increased average well size from .3 to .5 Bcf per location. These assets were sold in connection with restructuring several power purchase agreements. After the restructuring the fuel supplied to the power plants from these gas reserves was no longer required.


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