New Hayward power plant delayed

The Associated Press
Monday May 20, 2002

Construction was slated to start this week, but now officials say it may not start at all 


HAYWARD – Plans to begin construction on a new power plant in Hayward this summer have been changed. 

Instead of construction beginning this summer, the plant now may not be built at all. 

Calpine’s planned 600-megawatt Russell City Energy Center will not be up for approval by the state Energy Commission until August at the earliest. 

The plant was pitched during the state’s energy crisis. But recent upheaval in the power market means the project is on hold. 

“What changed? Where do we start?” said Calpine spokesman Kent Robertson. “The energy crisis has taken an odd turn and turned the power market upside down.” 

Calpine isn’t sure now whether it would be able to get the $300 million dollars in investment backing to cover construction costs. 

If it were built, the new plant would plug into PG&E’s Eastshore substation. Preliminary studies show that the transmission lines may not be able to handle the proposed plant’s production under certain circumstances. 

The Energy Commission and the Independent Service Operator suggest that replacing the lines would be the best way to address the load problems, according to the commission’s report. 

The approval process has also been somewhat hampered by a disagreement over what improvements Calpine would make to surrounding wetlands in the area.