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October 18, 2011 > Calpine and GE celebrate construction of Russell City Energy Center

Calpine and GE celebrate construction of Russell City Energy Center

Submitted By Norma F. Dunn
Photos By Simon Wong

Executives of Calpine Corporation and GE unit GE Energy Financial Services joined state and local officials, construction trade representatives, contractors, community leaders and business partners on October 12, 2011, to celebrate the continuing construction of the 619-megawatt, combined-cycle Russell City Energy Center in Hayward. The event honored hundreds of on-site construction workers.

"We're very proud the Russell City Energy Center will use the most advanced emissions control technology available today for a natural gas-fired power plant and that its construction provides jobs at a time when they are greatly needed in California," said Jack Fusco, Calpine's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Calpine was founded in California and has always been committed to helping meet the state's power needs in an environmentally responsible manner. This project will provide reliable and cost-effective electricity to citizens of Hayward and the Bay Area and, importantly, support the integration of increased renewable power."

"We're glad to have our crew at work on constructing of the Russell City Energy Center project which will put more than 700 people to work in the Bay Area," said Andreas Cluver, secretary-treasurer of the Alameda County Building Trades Council. "Building this efficient, natural gas power plant has generated union construction jobs in Hayward at a time we need it most."

"Wherever we work, our goal is to make a positive contribution in the community and Russell City is no exception," said Alasdair Cathcart, president of Bechtel's power business. "We're delighted to be working with Calpine and GE to bring jobs and reliable, cleaner energy to the Bay Area."

Construction of the Russell City Energy Center is on schedule. Several major foundations are completed and underground pipe systems are being installed along with electrical duct banks and vaults. The project is expected to be completed in May/June 2013.

"Today's event commemorates a great achievement made possible by the combination of Calpine's vision, GE's support as a project development partner and the cooperation of governments, our neighbors and the workers who are building this plant that will provide reliable energy to California," said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.

During the celebration, Russell City Energy Center presented a check for $10M to the City of Hayward for design and construction of a new library. In addition, Calpine, in cooperation with St. Mary's College, presented six scholarships for the St. Mary's summer basketball camp program to St. Bede's Elementary School and the Southern Alameda County Catholic Youth Organization in memory of Rick Thomas, a former Calpine employee who played a crucial role in the Russell City project's development.

Calpine began developing the Russell City Energy Center in 2001 and owns 75 percent of the project; a GE Energy Financial Services affiliate owns the balance. In June 2011, an $844.5M credit facility was secured to finance construction of the plant, the nation's first to receive a federal air permit that includes a voluntary limit on greenhouse gas emissions. Pacific Gas and Electric has agreed to purchase the full output of electricity from Russell City upon completion and will supply natural gas under a 10-year power purchase agreement approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in September 2010. The facility will play a critical role in meeting the Bay Area's power needs as older, emissions-intensive plants are retired and in supporting the growing renewable integration projects in California.

The facility will use the most advanced emissions control technology available today for a natural gas-fired power plant. In addition to minimizing air emissions, the plant will conserve water by using reclaimed wastewater from the City of Hayward's Water Pollution Control Facility for all cooling and boiler makeup. This environmentally responsible process will prevent up to four million gallons of wastewater from being discharged into San Francisco Bay each day. In addition, the plant will generate approximately $30M initially in one-time tax revenue, followed by recurring property tax revenues.

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