Calpine to suspend operation of 542-MW Sutter plant in California this year

Calpine Corp. (NYSE: CPN) will suspend operations in 2016 at a 542-MW, combined-cycle plant in California, has a unit at an Arizona plant down for repairs of indeterminate timing, and has suspended operations at one unit of a power plant in Texas.

Those facts are buried in a table listing Calpine’s power plants included in the company’s annual Form 10-K report filed with the SEC on Feb. 12. The bare details on those three developments, by plant, are:

  • Sutter Energy Center, California, combined cycle, 100% owned, 542 MW baseload and 578 MW with peaking capability. “We intend to suspend operations at our Sutter Energy Center for 2016 to assess the future of the facility,” said the Form 10-K.
  • South Point Energy Center, Arizona, combined cycle, 100% owned, 520 MW baseload and 530 MW with peaking capability. “South Point Unit 2 experienced a combustion turbine outage in the Fall of 2015 and we are currently evaluating the timing of repairs,” said the Form 10-K.
  • Clear Lake Power Plant, Texas, cogen, 100% owned, 344 MW baseload and 400 MW with peaking capability. “We suspended operations on one of the units at our Clear Lake Power Plant which reduced the baseload and peaking operating capacities by 102 MW and 92 MW, respectively,” said the Form 10-K. “However, this unit can be restored at our discretion based on market conditions.”

Calpine in the past has indicated problems for Sutter, a relatively new plant that has had trouble securing power sales. Back in May 2012, Calpine said it had secured short-term business with three California utilities that would help keep the plant open for the time being.

Said the Calpine website: “The Sutter Energy Center is a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility located on approximately 19 acres near Yuba City, California. The plant produces electricity using ‘combined-cycle’ technology, integrating two combustion turbines and a single steam turbine. Each combustion turbine is fueled by natural gas. Heat from the combustion turbines is captured and recycled in a separate process to create steam, which in turn drives the steam turbine. Calpine utilized Bechtel Power Company as the contractor to provide turn-key services for engineering and construction. When Sutter Energy entered commercial operation in 2001 it was the first new power plant to come on line in the past 10 years. The plant provided much needed energy during the 2001 energy crisis. The Sutter Energy Center sells electricity into the WECC Northern California, North Path 15 market within the Western Interconnect.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.