SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Calpine Corporation and the GE Energy business of General Electric Company have selected Calpine's Inland Empire Energy Center in Southern California for the North American launch of GE's most advanced gas turbine technology, the H System.
The Inland Empire Energy Center is located in the unincorporated community of Romoland in Riverside County, California. Licensed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) on December 17, 2003, the project will be capable of meeting the energy needs of almost 600,000 households in one of the fastest growing regions in the state. Moreover, the Inland Empire Energy Center is scheduled to be online by the summer of 2008, a point in time when energy officials have predicted that energy supplies may not be sufficient to meet demand.
"California set seven consecutive demand records this past summer and supply and demand fundamentals strongly indicate a need for new power plants in Southern California," said John Rice, President and CEO of GE Energy. "Through the construction and operation of North America's most advanced power plant of its kind, the Inland Empire Energy Center will be poised to provide crucial electricity for California, when and where it is needed the most."
"For the first time in several years, California appears to have a clear direction on energy policy," stated Calpine CEO and President Peter Cartwright. "GE's decision to work with Calpine and invest more than a half billion dollars in the Inland Empire Energy Center is proof of the progress that has occurred under the Schwarzenegger Administration and is a tribute to California's improving business climate."
The Inland Empire Energy Center will be based on two GE 107H combined-cycle systems, GE's latest gas turbine technology. The H System represents the most efficient, gas turbine combined-cycle system available to the energy industry. GE's innovative gas turbine technology enables the H System to provide superior fuel economy and environmental performance. For every unit of electricity produced, the H System uses less fuel and produces less greenhouse gases and other emissions when compared to other large gas turbine combined-cycle systems.
Calpine will retain development responsibility for the new facility and secure the necessary permit amendments for the project's new equipment configuration. Construction is expected to begin this year and Calpine Power Services, a subsidiary of Calpine Corporation, will provide program management services for the construction effort. During the three years required to construct and complete extensive testing of this new generation of technology, over one million craft hours of labor will be required, with more than 500 construction workers involved in the project.
Upon commencement of commercial operations, targeted for mid- 2008, Calpine's Energy Services group will market electricity from the facility through a long-term marketing arrangement with GE. Subsequently, Calpine will sell the power through a variety of long, intermediate and short-term contracts. Following a period of GE ownership, Calpine will purchase the plant and become the sole owner and operator of the facility.