LIVERMORE, CA-Energy producer Calpine Corp. and Bechtel Group Inc. are planning to build a large natural gas plant near here in unincorporated Alameda County. The two Bay Area companies are eying a 50-acre site on Kelso Road, next to an existing Western Area Power Administration substation. The new East Altamont Energy Center would cost an estimated $550 million and produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity – enough to power approximately one million homes in the East Bay and San Joaquin County.

Before the facility is approved, it will go through a rigorous technical and environmental review process by the California Energy Commission in Sacramento and in Alameda County. If Calpine obtains the licensing through the energy commission on time, it will begin construction in June 2002. Company officials anticipate completion in June 2004.

Earlier this year, San Jose-based Calpine Corp. proposed plans to build a smaller facility – one that would produce 600 megawatts of electricity – in the Coyote Valley Research Park on the southern edge of San Jose. But last month, San Jose City Council members rejected the plan, saying that the project was inappropriate for an area being filled with light industrial high-tech firms such as Cisco Systems, which also opposed the power plant project. Cisco Systems, San Jose’s largest employer, is building a 688-acre campus in the Coyote Valley Research Park that will eventually employ 20,000 people.

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