Jan 302011
Calpine power plant control room
Image by kqedquest via Flickr

The planned natural gas-fired power plant will be the first to accept federal restrictions on the amount of greenhouse gas it can emit

Calpine Corp. is poised to build the first U.S. power plant with federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions in California after clearing a final regulatory hurdle today.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District granted the Houston-based utility its final air quality permit today, allowing the company to proceed with the planned construction of a 600-megawatt natural gas-fired Russell City Energy Center. The 15-acre project site is in Hayward, just east of the San Francisco Bay.

The Russell City plant will produce 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than even the most advanced coal-fired plants, Calpine said, and will emit 25 percent fewer heat-trapping gases than the California Public Utilities Commission’s standard. Construction on the facility plant is expected to begin later this year.

“We applaud the BAAQMD and Calpine for going beyond existing federal law and being the first in the nation to require an enforceable greenhouse gas limit,” said Linda Adams, secretary of the California EPA. “This action furthers efforts at a statewide level to balance our economic needs while meeting our environmental challenges.”

The Prevention of Significant Deterioration, or PSD, permit was issued with an eye on greenhouse gas restrictions set to be implemented in California in less than two years. The state’s Air Resources Board is still in the process of putting together rules for a cap-and-trade market intended to help cut greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020; that market goes live Jan. 1, 2012.

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