Business Spotlight

Calpine Corporation: Powering Pennsylvania Through Clean, Efficient Technologies

Summer 2020 Catalyst

Calpine Corporation is America’s largest generator of electricity -- from natural gas and geothermal resources with robust commercial, industrial and residential retail electric operations in key competitive power markets, including Pennsylvania.  Our clean, efficient, modern and flexible fleet uses advanced technologies to generate power in a low-carbon and environmentally responsible manner. We are uniquely positioned to benefit from the secular trends affecting our industry, including the abundant and affordable supply of clean natural gas, environmental regulation, aging power generation infrastructure and the increasing need for dispatchable power plants to successfully integrate intermittent renewables into the grid.

 

We own and operate a 1,130 megawatt plant in Bethlehem, and two facilities near York. Our newest combined-cycle power plant, the York 2 Energy Center in Peach Bottom Township, Pennsylvania, commenced commercial operation on March 17, 2019, adding 828 megawatts of efficient, reliable and environmentally responsible electric generation capacity to the Mid-Atlantic power grid. This new power plant is co-located with Calpine’s existing 565 megawatt York Energy Center, which commenced operation in 2011. Both of these highly efficient, combined-cycle plants are equipped with advanced environmental controls. Their combustion turbines primarily use cleaner-burning natural gas, taking advantage of the valuable Pennsylvania resource of natural gas. The plants are capable of also running on ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel oil to enhance reliability.

 

“Plants with flexible, dual-fuel capabilities like our York energy centers are playing an increasingly important role in ensuring power reliability for consumers in the PJM region, which includes Pennsylvania,” said Calpine’s President and Chief Executive Officer Thad Hill. “Importantly, York 2 was built and will operate cost-effectively without the need for government or public subsidies, demonstrating that letting the competitive markets work is the best way to optimize generation resources and to achieve environmental objectives.”

 

In total, we generate over 2,500 megawatts of electricity at our three Pennsylvania power facilities. That’s enough to power over 500,000 homes.

 

We chose to invest in Pennsylvania for a multitude of reasons. Specifically, we advocate for fair and well-structured competitive power markets and environmentally responsible regulation – issues vital to building a clean and sustainable future. We find both of those key attributes here in Pennsylvania where legislators and policy makers have done an outstanding job supporting fair and transparent energy markets. By not choosing winners and losers they have allowed the competitive market to work as intended. The end result has been an increase in economic development in communities throughout the state like York and Bethlehem, and an efficient and reliable energy supply well into the future. 

 

Another key benefit of this support for markets has been an improvement in environmental quality driven by market based solutions derived from private investments in efficiencies and innovation. We pride ourselves on our environmental stewardship and we know that Pennsylvanians share that value. Like others, our fleet has helped to reduce emissions by utilizing the plentiful natural gas produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

When we begin operations, we immediately consider ourselves a partner in the community. It is always our goal to be a good neighbor and support those who live, work and provide emergency services near our operations. Throughout construction we create hundreds of high-paying jobs. But it’s not just the jobs we create that allow us to give back to the community. Last year we paid over that help support services and programs in the township, county and school district. In addition to the taxes paid, we invest millions of dollars with local vendors for products and services to ensure the safe and reliable ongoing operation of our fleet. Equally as important are the donations that we make to those worthy causes that help keep the communities where we operate safe. One example of this is our donation to the local fire department that provides coverage to our York Energy Centers.

 

In addition to our wholesale generation business, Calpine is proud to offer services directly to end use customers through our affiliates Calpine Energy Solutions and Champion Energy Services. Since energy markets in the United States began deregulating almost 20 years ago, Calpine Energy Solutions has emerged as one of the leading retail energy suppliers. Calpine Solutions supplies natural gas, power and associated energy and risk management services to primarily large customers throughout the United States. Champion Energy Services is the fastest-growing retail electric provider in the nation and the largest never to have been affiliated with a utility. Champion Energy currently serves residential, governmental, commercial and industrial customers in deregulated energy markets across the country including Pennsylvania. 

Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.