Calpine expands energy project in Delaware

Calpine Corp. is moving ahead with full-scale development efforts for the proposed 309 megawatt natural gas-fueled Garrison Energy Center in Dover.

The project had been in the preliminary stages for the California company which operates a regional headquarters in Wilmington. The company operates the Edgemoor Energy Center near Wilmington and halted the use of coal at the site. Edgemoor is powered by natural gas and to a lesser extent fuel oil.

The Garrison site still requires land use and environmental approvals, but has been studied by Delmarva Power and PJM., the operator of the regional electrical grid. Neither found problems in the plant’s ability to feed power into the grid.

The energy center would use combined cycle technology that produces fewer emissions than older types of natural gas-fired power plants.

The estimated price tag for the project was not disclosed.

“Due to the highly competitive nature of the independent electric power generating business, Calpine does not release specific information regarding facility construction costs,” said company spokeswoman Norma Dunn.

Published reports of other gas-fired generators indicate the cost of those projects run more than $150 million.

Calpine would like to start work on the plant early next year, with completion slated for 2015.

According to Dunn, the plant would employ about 300 during the construction phase. The power plant would create 16 permanent jobs.

“Delaware is committed to securing cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “By deploying advanced energy-efficient technology, electric production from the Garrison Energy Center will provide lower-cost and cleaner electricity for Delaware residents and businesses, while displacing older, inefficient and dirtier sources of energy from upwind states.

“This state-of-the-art generating facility will improve the reliability of the electric system and provide new and much-needed revenue streams for the city. In addition, the construction of a pipeline to serve the facility will expand the availability of natural gas to other businesses and consumers in the region,” Dover Mayor Carlton E. Carey Sr. stated.

The plant, in full operation, would generate an amount electricity that is well in excess of the amount used by Dover, which operates its own electric utility.

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