Russell City permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board denied all remaining appeals against a federal air permit to build Calpine Corp.’s 600 MW Russell City Energy Center in Hayward, Calif. The plant is expected to begin commercial operations by 2013.

The air permit was issued in February by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and the natural gas-fired power plant received its Notice to Proceed from the California Energy Commission in August.

The BAAQMD considered significant public input from community and environmental groups before issuing Russell City's Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit (PSD), the first of its kind to impose limits on a power plant's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Calpine agreed to include the limits more than a year before such limits will be required by the EPA beginning in January 2011.

The Russell City plant will use advanced emissions control technology to produce 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the most advanced coal-fired plants and 25 percent fewer than the standard set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Pacific Gas & Electric will purchase the full output of electricity from Russell City and will supply natural gas to the plant under an amended power purchase agreement approved by the CPUC in September.

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