Election Section

Bay Area Briefs

Friday September 13, 2002

Calpine says no power contract, no plant 


HAYWARD — Even though the California Energy Commission has licensed the 600-megawatt Russell City Energy Center in Hayward, Calpine Corp. says it won’t build the facility without a power contract. 

In announcing the licensing Wednesday, Gov. Gray Davis said the natural gas-fired plant “is necessary to improve energy reliability in the Bay Area.” The commission approved the plant, which is expected to cost $300 million to $400 million, on a 5-0 vote. 

But Calpine, which had been expected to begin construction next spring and put it into commercial operation in the summer of 2005, said low wholesale prices for electricity have made the company wary of new projects. 

“We’re not moving into new construction of plants without power purchasing contracts,” Calpine spokesman Kent Robertson said. “Current market conditions are an obstacle.”