Sutter Energy Center has contracts for rest of the year
The Sutter Energy Center has the juice to keep selling juice, with officials from its parent company announcing Monday they'd finalized contracts to sell electricity through the end of the year.
Joe Ronan, a senior vice president with Calpine Inc., said the news was welcome for both his company and the numerous people and groups in the Yuba-Sutter region who supported keeping the plant operating.
"We're pleased with that, as I'm sure the people of Yuba City, Sutter County and Yuba County area," Ronan said. "We had a lot of support from there, and we appreciate it."
At the beginning of the year, Calpine informed the state Public Utilities Commission the natural gas power plant along Township Road west of Yuba City would be shuttered if the company couldn't get a contract to sell electricity from it.
In late March, the commission ordered the state's three-investor owned utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric Co., to negotiate with Calpine for a Sutter Energy Center contract, but didn't require an actual contract to be finalized.
Calpine did not release details of the contract, which is in effect July 3 through Dec. 31.
But Ronan said beyond this year, something needs to be done to keep the plant running. The state's economic slowdown caused a lack of demand for electricity, though Ronan said with some plants idled and others set to be shut down in upcoming years, there should be enough demand to keep Sutter Energy Center operating.
"We're optimistic we'll get a bilateral contract," he said. "It's hard to run a business year to year." In the meantime, though, the plant, which has about 30 employees and generates millions in local property tax annually, will keep running.
Brynda Stranix, chief operating officer and executive director for the Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corp., said the contracts are welcome developments.
"It's very positive," she said. "We're very glad this was the outcome."
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.