US-based power plant developer Calpine has begun commercial operations of two combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants, Russell City Energy Center and Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility, with a total capacity of over 900MW.

The power plants, located in the San Francisco Bay area, California, will sell their entire output to Calpine’s customer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which will also supply natural gas to the plants under 10-year power purchase agreements.

Russell City Energy Center, which is owned by Calpine (75%) and GE Energy Financial Services (25%), is located in Hayward, while Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility is situated in San Jose.

The 619MW Russell City Energy Center is equipped with an advanced emissions control technology and has a fuel-efficient and zero-liquid discharge configuration.
These configurations will allow the plant to respond to dynamic grid conditions and conserve water respectively.

The plant will use reclaimed wastewater from the city of Hayward’s Water Pollution Control Facility for all of its critical requirements, avoiding up to four million gallons of wastewater from being discharged each day.

Earlier in March 2003, Los Esteros began operations as an 188MW peaking power plant, which has been upgraded to a combined-cycle facility.

The upgradation work included addition of heat-recovery steam generators and a steam turbine generator; these new equipment increased the plant’s capacity to 309MW and improve efficiency and environmental performance.

Like Russell City Energy Center, Los Esteros also uses recycled wastewater from the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, preventing up to an additional two million gallons per day from being discharged into San Francisco Bay.

Russell City Energy Center employed 650 construction workers and 30 permanent workers, while Los Esteros created approximately 300 construction jobs and 19 full-time jobs.

Calpine CEO Jack Fusco said that the start of commercial operations of these two plants demonstrates its continued commitment to help meet the power needs of its customers.