Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center opens
Californians concerned about the energy crisis can now see first-hand how electricity is made using geothermal steam from the earth at Calpine Corporation's new Geothermal Visitor Center, in Middletown, California.
Exhibits include wastewater to electricity project in Lake County
SAN JOSE, Calif., May 11, 2001 — Californians concerned about the energy crisis can now see first-hand how electricity is made using geothermal steam from the earth at Calpine Corporation's new Geothermal Visitor Center, in Middletown, California.
One of the exhibits explains the wastewater-to-electricity project in Lake County that has increased power output at The Geysers by 54 megawatts, and the Santa Rosa Geysers Recharge Project in Sonoma County which is expected to increase the power output at The Geysers by 85 megawatts when it begins operation in 2002.
The center offers free admission, parking, and tours led by knowledgeable guides in air-conditioned mini-buses to one of Calpine's operating geothermal power plants at The Geysers.
The Geysers, covering a 30-square-mile area in Lake and Sonoma counties, is the largest producing geothermal resource in the world.
"Calpine began its power generation portfolio with one megawatt at The Geysers in 1989, and today we have 19 geothermal power plants, fueled by more than 350 steam wells, that generate about 850 megawatts of electricity. That's enough electricity to meet the energy needs of about 850,000 homes in northern California," said Dennis Gilles, Vice President-Geothermal, Calpine.
"To meet the country's ever-increasing demand for electricity, Calpine's goal is to have 70,000 megawatts of power in place throughout the U.S. and Canada by 2005, primarily from our clean, efficient natural gas-fueled energy centers. Our geothermal operations will continue to provide an important energy resource to California's strained power grid."
Calpine was the first energy company to sign long-term power contracts with the state of California's Department of Water Resources during the current energy crisis, and was also the first company to site and build a new power plant in the state in more than 10 years.
This summer, two Calpine natural gas-fueled plants will begin operating in California, the 500-megawatt Sutter Energy Center near Yuba City, and the 500-megawatt Los Medanos Energy Center in Pittsburg, adding enough energy to meet the needs of about 1,000,000 homes.
Members of Calpine's management, the U.S. House of Representatives and other energy and environmental groups spoke at the opening reception on May 11.
Calpine launched its free public tour program at The Geysers and began construction of this unique visitor center last summer to commemorate the 40th anniversary of commercial geothermal power production in the United States. The first geothermal power plant in the nation began generating electricity at The Geysers in 1960.
The center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Monday.
To contact the center, telephone 1-866-GEYSERS or check the web site http://www.geysers.com.
The 6,500-square-foot visitor center building uses state-of-the-art energy efficiency technology and a geothermal heat pump to heat and cool the building instead of a traditional furnace and air conditioner.
The center includes: a unique geothermal energy exhibit hall, a multi-purpose room that can seat up to 60 people for meals or 85 for meetings, a conference room, gift shop, snack bar, catering kitchen, landscaped picnic area, public restrooms, and a Calpine employment kiosk where visitors can seek out career opportunities with the nation's leading independent energy producer throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Special hands-on exhibits include three-dimensional displays exploring geothermal geology, well drilling technology, how geothermal and natural gas power plants work, and a topographical model of The Geysers showing the location of each of the power plants now in operation there.
On guided bus tours, visitors have the opportunity to step inside the West Ford Flat geothermal power plant, which began generating electricity in 1988. The 27 megawatts of electricity it produces is enough to meet the energy needs of 27,000 homes and businesses, about half of the electrical energy needed by all of Lake County.
Based in San Jose, Calif., Calpine Corporation is dedicated to providing customers with reliable and competitively priced electricity. Calpine is focused on clean, efficient, natural gas-fired generation and is the world's largest producer of renewable geothermal energy. To date, the company has approximately 31,200 megawatts of base load capacity and 6,800 megawatts of peaking capacity in operation, under construction, and in announced development in 28 states and Canada. For more information about Calpine, visit its web site at http://www.calpine.com .