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Calpine Plans New Texas Cogen; Adds California Plant

Calpine Plans New Texas Cogen; Adds California Plant

Calpine Corp., Texas' largest independent power producer, announced plans last week to build, own and operate an 800 MW natural gas-fired cogeneration power plant at Bayer Corp.'s chemical facility in Baytown, TX. Permitting for the $335 million facility is under way, the company said. The plant is expected to begin commercial operation in late 2001.

At the same time the company said it has completed the purchase of development rights from Enron Corp. for a 500 MW facility under construction in Pittsburg, CA.

The Texas facility, which is expected to burn 135 MMcf/d, will employ three Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. 501F combustion turbines, allowing it to run at increased efficiency, Calpine said. "Compared to the average older gas-fired power plant in operation today, Baytown will use up to 40% less natural gas," said Diana Taylor, Calpine's senior vice president. "And by utilizing the latest generation in combined-cycle combustion turbine design and advanced emissions control systems, we can significantly reduce emissions compared to older plants."

The company said the plant will generate 700 MW of electricity under baseload conditions and will have the ability to add 100 MW of peaking power during hot summer months.

The Baytown plant will supply Bayer with all of its electric and steam requirements for 20 years. with excess power sold into the ERCOT wholesale power market under a variety of short-, mid-, and long-term contracts, the company said.

The Baytown plant will be the newest addition to Calpine's central region power system. The San Jose, CA-based company already has six power plants (three in operation and three under construction) in the state. All of them are gas-fired. Once all of the plants are completed, they will burn a combined 610 MMcf/d to produce a total of 3,700 MW.

"We have power plants in operation, under construction, or planned in 14 states," said Jimmy Glotfelty, a Calpine spokesman. "But Texas is our core area for gas-fired generation. We might generate more electricity in California, but we have geo-thermal and hydro assets doing a lot of the work. Texas is clearly where our gas-fired focus is, and we hope to expand it." Glotfelty added that all the gas Calpine uses to fire these plants is bought from nearby pipeline systems or supplied from the Sheridan Energy system, which Calpine bought last summer.

Overall, the company currently has approximately 9,800 MW in operation, pending acquisition, under construction or in announced development. Calpine's goal is to reach 16,000 MW by 2003, Glotfelty said.

Calpine said it has completed the transaction for the purchase of development rights to build, own and operate the Pittsburg, CA, plant from Enron. The 500 MW Los Medanos Energy Center (formerly called the Pittsburg District Energy Facility) recently was licensed by the California Energy Commission after a comprehensive year-long environmental and technical review. Construction of the $350 million facility is underway.

The San Jose, CA-based Calpine expects to begin energy deliveries in July 2001 for the peak summer demand season.

Kiewit Industrial of Omaha, NE, is building the facility on a 12-acre site adjacent to USS POSCO Industries' steel mill. As a cogenerator, Los Medanos will provide USS POSCO with 60 MW of electricity and 75,000 pounds per hour of steam for use in industrial processing. Calpine will sell the remaining 450 MW of electricity to California's power exchange and under bilateral contracts.

Calpine currently has another project under development in Pittsburg at the Dow Chemical plant. The Delta Energy Center, a joint venture with Bechtel Enterprises, will generate approximately 880 MW, plus steam for sale to Dow and to California's deregulated power market.

John Norris

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