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New power plant to be first ever to self-impose limit on CO2 output

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A new power plant to be built in California will be the first in the nation to set a limit on its carbon dioxide output.

A new power plant to be built in California will be the first in the nation to set a limit on its carbon dioxide output.

Houston, Texas-based Calpine Corp. has been granted a federal permit to limit CO2 at the new plant, to be built in Hayward, which is near San Francisco.

The company will limit the output of the planned 612-megawatt Russell City Energy Center in anticipation of federal regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.

Set to begin construction this year, the power plant was required to get a permit that sets limits on conventional pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. But Calpine went further, and voluntarily asked for a permit to legally limit carbon dioxide, using the same methods as conventional pollutants.

"We applaud the BAAQMD and Calpine for going beyond existing federal law and being the first in the nation to require an enforceable greenhouse gas limit," said Linda Adams, California State Secretary for Environmental Protection, in prepared remarks. "This action furthers efforts at a statewide level to balance our economic needs while meeting our environmental challenges. Aggressive and early action like this is needed to fight global warming and is critical to our economic recovery."

Calpine said the new facility will be designed to operate in a way that produces 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the most advanced coal-fired plants and 25 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the California state standard.

Powered by cleaner burning natural gas, the plant will use what Calpine calls "advanced combined-cycle technology." It will also use 100 percent reclaimed water from the City of Hayward's Water Pollution Control Facility for cooling and boiler makeup.

Image: Calpine's Delta power plant in Pittsburg, California

Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure