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CA Expected to Meet Summer 2001 Demand

CA Expected to Meet Summer 2001 Demand

Californians looking for reason to celebrate over the Thanksgiving holiday may have found it in a new report from the California Energy Commission, which claims that the state should have enough power to meet its electricity demand next summer, barring extraordinarily hot weather.

The CEC's findings relied in part on the addition of new generation that is expected to be available next year, most of which is being built by Calpine Corp. In response to the report, the San Jose, CA-based company said it has a "strong commitment" to build new generation in the energy-starved state to help alleviate California's continued energy crisis, with future plans to announce more construction soon.

"Calpine is committed to California," said Calpine Vice President Jim Macias. "In addition to our 4,700 MW energy program currently under way, Calpine expects to announce plans to develop an additional 3,000 MW of new capacity in California. In all, we have a program in place to build some 7,700 MW of generation in and around California over the next five years, representing a $4 billion investment."

Calpine's two new facilities, Sutter and Los Medanos, will bring more than 1,000 MW of base-load generation by next summer. Most of the remaining capacity expected to come on line will be temporary peaking generation. The CEC report assumes voluntary reduction in peak demand, continued availability of imported power outside the state and continued operation of aging power plants.

"California's fundamental problem is antiquated electric power infrastructure, which is threatening reliability," said Macias. "No major gas-fired generation has been built since 1972. In fact, approximately 80% of California's gas-fired plants are over 30 years old. As a result, this over worked, inefficient generation base is frequently down for repair and maintenance. Currently, over 10,000 MW of needed capacity is off-line for this reason. Similar to how California has a need to expand its highways, education and housing infrastructure, it must modernize its power infrastructure with energy-efficient, environmentally sound energy resources."

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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