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Salt River Project has agreed to purchase a natural gas power plant located about 40 miles west of Phoenix, the utility company said in a release.

"We studied the market very carefully and determined that this purchase would provide an economic benefit to SRP and its customers," said SRP general manager Mark Bonsall, adding that the purchase allows the company to plan for expected substantial growth.

SRP will pay $371 million for the 625-megawatt plant, located in Arlington, Ariz., that was formerly owned by U.S. Gas & Power of San Diego. It plans to hire the existing staff.

The deal is subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, expected in 2013.,

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