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

The CEC’s findings relied in part on the addition of newgeneration that is expected to be available next year, most ofwhich is being built by Calpine Corp. In response to the report,the San Jose, CA-based company said it has a “strong commitment” tobuild new generation in the energy-starved state to help alleviateCalifornia’s continued energy crisis, with future plans to announcemore construction soon.

“Calpine is committed to California,” said Calpine VicePresident Jim Macias. “In addition to our 4,700 MW energy programcurrently under way, Calpine expects to announce plans to developan additional 3,000 MW of new capacity in California. In all, wehave a program in place to build some 7,700 MW of generation in andaround California over the next five years, representing a $4billion investment.”

Calpine’s two new facilities, Sutter and Los Medanos, will bringmore than 1,000 MW of base-load generation by next summer. Most ofthe remaining capacity expected to come on line will be temporarypeaking generation. The CEC report assumes voluntary reduction inpeak demand, continued availability of imported power outside thestate and continued operation of aging power plants.

“California’s fundamental problem is antiquated electric powerinfrastructure, which is threatening reliability,” said Macias. “Nomajor gas-fired generation has been built since 1972. In fact,approximately 80% of California’s gas-fired plants are over 30years old. As a result, this over worked, inefficient generationbase is frequently down for repair and maintenance. Currently, over10,000 MW of needed capacity is off-line for this reason. Similarto how California has a need to expand its highways, education andhousing infrastructure, it must modernize its power infrastructurewith energy-efficient, environmentally sound energy resources.”

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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