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
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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