Hayward, Calif., June 24, 2009 — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District notified interested stakeholders that it is seeking public input on a draft permit to construct what will be the nation’s first power plant with a federal limit on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Calpine Corp. has been working in cooperation with the district to respond to comments submitted by a number of environmental and local public interest groups, including the Sierra Club and EarthJustice, regarding the company’s proposed 600 MW Russell City Energy Center to be built in Hayward, Calif. Calpine has agreed to changes in the project’s permit conditions, including reductions in a number of emission limits, which will make it one of the cleanest natural gas-fired power plants in the nation.
Powered by natural gas, Russell City Energy Center will use advanced combined-cycle technology, which captures and uses the exhaust from gas turbines to generate additional energy in a steam turbine, resulting in an approximate 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2012.
The facility will use 100 percent reclaimed water from the City of Hayward’s Water Pollution Control Facility for cooling and will convert it into steam for electricity production. This environmentally responsible process conserves water and prevents four million gallons of wastewater per day from being discharged into San Francisco Bay.
The California Energy Commission granted a license for the plant in September 2007 and the California Public Utilities Commission approved a 10-year power purchase agreement in April 2009 under which PG&E will purchase the electricity generated by the plant.
Russell City Energy Center has agreed to a limit on the plant’s overall efficiency or “heat rate,” which is the amount of fuel it takes to generate a kWh of electricity. At baseload conditions, the plant is designed to operate at an efficiency rate that results in approximately 800 lbs of CO2 per MWh of power delivered to the grid. This is less than half the 1,700 lbs of CO2 per MWh emitted by even the most advanced coal-fired generating technologies. It also is substantially lower than the California Public Utilities Commission’s 1,100 lbs/MWh standard, which applies to investor-owned utilities entering into new long-term power purchase contracts.