Calpine Corp. commenced commercial operations at its Russell City Energy Center and Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility, both located in the San Francisco Bay area. Together, the two power plants bring on-line more than 900 MW of combined-cycle natural gas-fired power generation capacity capable of meeting the electric needs of about 750,000 households.
The full power output of both power plants will be delivered to Calpine’s customer, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), which will also supply the natural gas fuel, under 10-year power purchase agreements.
The 619 MW Russell City Energy Center, located in Hayward, California, uses the most advanced emissions control technology available today for a natural gas-fired power plant. The fuel-efficient, combined-cycle configuration allows Russell City Energy Center to respond to grid conditions while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Calpine owns 75 percent of the project, or 464 MW of dispatchable capacity, and GE (GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services owns the balance.
About 650 local union workers were employed during peak construction at Russell City, and the plant now employs 30 full-time operations staff. The plant has generated more than $25 million to date in initial sales and property tax revenue, and recurring property tax revenues during operation are estimated at about $5 million annually to help fund local government services.
Located in San Jose, the Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility first began commercial operations in March 2003 as a 188 MW peaking power plant. The plant has now been upgraded to a combined-cycle facility capable of generating up to 309 MW. The upgrade and addition of heat-recovery steam generators and a steam turbine generator not only increases the plant’s generation capacity, it improves efficiency and environmental performance.
The plant can ramp up and down as the grid demands and remains capable of operating much like a peaking facility if needed. By using recycled wastewater from the San Josàƒ©-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, Los Esteros also will prevent up to an additional two million gallons per day from being discharged into San Francisco Bay.
Construction at Los Esteros employed about 300 local union workers at its peak. With the plant now commercially operational, 19 employees work on site full time, and another four serve Los Esteros in addition to other nearby Calpine plants. The upgraded plant is expected to contribute about $3 million annually in recurring tax revenues to local governments and generated about $5 million in one-time tax revenue as a result of the construction upgrade.