Avista Power and Cogentrix are to develop a 270MWe power plant in Rathdrum, Idaho, as part of an agreement between the two companies to jointly build or buy interests in natural-gas fired projects in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The Rathdrum facility is expected to cost $150 million. It is due to start operating commercially in the third quarter of 2001. Ownership of the power station will be shared, with Cogentrix taking the lead in development, construction and operation.

Avista Power is a newly formed affiliate of Washington Water Power, which on 1 January created a new parent company, Avista Corporation, with Washington Water Power trading as Avista Utilities.