Apparently not wanting to try to build an energy complex against the wishes of the local community, San Jose, CA-based Calpine Corp. announced late Wednesday it was dropping its plans for developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and other facilities in the far northern end of California in Humboldt Bay. Calpine did not say so, but it is assumed the Eureka City Council turned down the energy developer’s request for an exclusive right to assess a site on part of a little used airport.

“Calpine has withdrawn its plans to proceed with a LNG terminal at Samoa Point, in Eureka, and is ceasing development activities,” a company spokesperson said in a prepared statement that noted the company “values its relationships with the communities where its plants are located,” so it wants at least a clear majority of support. The inference is that it was not getting majority support in Eureka.

“Based on feedback from the local community and public officials, we believe this decision is best for all parties,” said a Calpine vice president involved in the proposed project, Ken Koye. “The Eureka City Council, the city staff and community leaders are to be commended for their time and effort in considering the project. We appreciate those who worked with us to explore the potential for the project.”

It is the second North American LNG project to be cancelled in less than a month. On March 10, TransCanada Corp. and ConocoPhillips said they were suspending further work on their planned Fairwinds LNG terminal in Harpswell, ME, after the town residents voted not to lease a former U.S. Navy Fuel Depot site to build the terminal and regasification facilities (see Daily GPI, March 11). TransCanada and ConocoPhillips said they plan to search for an alternative location for their project.

After sniffing around Humboldt Bay, the second largest natural harbor on the West Coast, Calpine recently began examining the airport site, which is close to the opening of the harbor and thus would require less dredging than an original potential site farther inside the bay.

The old World War II Army Air Corps airfield is situated in the northern most reaches of the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. territory, literally at the ends of the natural gas and electrical transmission systems. Part of Calpine’s preliminary conceptual plan included the development of a 220-MW electric generation plant, partially to supply the estimated 20 MW of power needed for the LNG terminal operations, and a 30-inch-diameter, 155-mile natural gas transmission pipeline using the existing corridor of a 12-inch-diameter supply line that runs northwesterly from Red Bluff, CA, in the north-central Interstate-5 highway corridor to the Humboldt County area.

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