[ News Release picture montage ]

CONTACT: Chris Davis 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Staff Finds Little To Hamper
Los Esteros Conversion

Sacramento - The Final Staff Assessment of the proposal to expand the Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility offers conditions that staff believes would allow the California Energy Commission to license the project. According to the staff analysis, the site must first be re-zoned to allow the simple-cycle power plant to be upgraded. The report also recommends conditions of certification for the expansion project to be constructed with no unmitigated impacts to the environment, public health or the transmission system.

The Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility currently generates 180 megawatts with four natural gas-fired turbines. The proposed conversion would include the installation of a 140-megawatt steam turbine and the equipment necessary to make it run. The expanded facility would then generate 320 megawatts with a much more efficient use of the natural gas that powers the plant.

The Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility was first licensed by the Energy Commission on July 2, 2002, under an emergency process that required the power plant to be converted to combined-cycle operation or closed within three years. The law was later modified to allow re-certification of the simple-cycle facility. The Energy Commission re-licensed the power plant on March 16, 2005. The application submitted by Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility, LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calpine, to recertify the power plant also requested a license to convert the facility to combined-cycle operation.

The Final Staff Assessment released today is not a final decision on the conversion request. The document will serve as staffs testimony at Evidentiary Hearings to be held by the Committee designated to conduct the Energy Commission review of the application. The Committee will then issue a proposed decision based on the evidence presented at the hearings. The proposed decision will then be presented to the full Energy Commission for a final decision.

The Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility operates in North San Jose, across Zanker Road from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant. Electricity from the facility currently is interconnected to the transmission system at a nearby PG&E substation. However, the converted facility would interconnect at the new, adjacent Silicon power switching station. The expanded power plant is expected to begin commercial operation in the summer of 2008.

The Final Staff Assessment is available on the Energy Commission website at:


Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission power plant licensing process. To find out how to get involved and/or provide comments, contact the Commissions Public Adviser, Margret J. Kim, at (916) 654-4489, (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at:



Reporter notes:

Please address media inquiries to Chris Davis in the Energy Commission Media & Public Communications office at (916) 654-4989.

The Energy Commission is continuously updating the database of media which receive our news releases and news advisories. Members of the media who wish to be added to the database, have their information updated, or deleted, should send an e-mail to:


Please indicate the types of information in which you are interested, such as Bay Area power plant cases, gasoline prices and supplies, renewable energy, energy conservation, natural gas or electricity supply and demand.

| News Releases Main Page | Commission Homepage | Site Index | Search Site | Links | Glossary | Contact Us |