Model Power Plant Eyed in California
With the pressure of an exhaustive state regulatory review and
scrutiny of its neighbors, San Jose, CA-based Calpine Corp. says it
is prepared to spend whatever it takes to make a 600 MW natural
gas-fired merchant power plant in its headquarters city a "model"
for efficiency and environmental cleanliness among its growing
fleet of gas-fired power plants nationally.
Not coincidentally, the outset of the state regulatory review
leading to approval of the $300-$400 million facility begins later
this month. Calpine announced May 30 it is prepared to go to extra
expense to cut the proposed plant's nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
to record low levels.
The Metcalf Energy Center on a 14-acre site within the city of
San Jose will have NOx reduced by 33% from levels already approved
by the local air quality district, which would make it the lowest
such emissions for a California-licensed power plant, according to
Calpine's calculations. Metcalf is one of four San Francisco Bay
area power plants proposed jointly with international
engineering/constructor Bechtel Enterprises and Calpine.
The added reductions are being achieved by a new design
configuration for the plant, according to Calpine's Curt
Hildebrand, Metcalf project director.
He added that the "concerns in the community" caused Calpine and
Bechtel to explore new options
"This will show that we are making continuous improvements to
the air quality side of the equation," said Bill Highlander, a
Calpine vice president. "We want to make this a showcase project,
so we kept trying to find ways to make this as good as we possibly
can - even from the visual impact of it. We're spending a lot of
money trying to make it look different than a power plant in some
other (more remote) location. We trying to make it the best
looking, cleanest plant in the country because in is right here in
The proposal is in the early stages of what is usually a
yearlong process for gaining approval from the California Energy
Commission (CEC), which will hold a series of public hearings.
Richard Nemec, Los Angeles
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