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The future looks good for independent power producers, but there will be plenty of competition, according to the chairman and founder of Bonneville Pacific Corp.

Raymond L. Hixson said the independent power producers have partially filled a void caused by the decline in large power projects built by the federal government like Flaming Gorge Dam and Glen Canyon Dam.In a Thursday speech to the Mountain West Venture Group in the Red Lion Hotel, Hixson said the independent power industry got started with passage of the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 that broke the monopoly of public utilities and required them to purchase power from independent producers at their avoided cost.

The law also required public utilities to have a supply of back up power at a fair rate and also removed a ceiling on the earnings of independent power producers.

Hixson said Bonneville Pacific has been operating since 1980 and in 1982 its first power plant went on line at Big Sand Wash Dam near Roosevelt.

He said Bonneville Pacific has been the fastest growing independent power company in the United States in pre-tax income and earnings per share.

The company constructs or, in some cases, acquires electrical-generating power plants already in operation and sells the power to public utilities, municipal utilities and, in some instances, directly to the user. Bonneville Pacific has 20 power plants operating in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, California and Nevada.

With 700 megawatts of power already under contract, Bonneville Pacific has several other projects under construction including natural gas-fired co-generation projects in Utah and California, three hydroelectric projects in Idaho and one in Hawaii.