Calpine will look at solar, geothermal: CEO

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Jun 4, 2007 6:17pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. independent power producer Calpine Corp. CPNLQ.PK plans to invest in solar power and also expand its geothermal operations after it emerges from bankruptcy, Calpine Chief Executive Robert May said on Monday.

"We will put aside some modest dollars in a development standpoint, particularly in California and Texas, to see what's possible to integrate solar with our power plants," May said at the Reuters Global Energy Summit in New York.

The company expects to get out of bankruptcy late in the fourth quarter or early in the first quarter next year, he said.

May said Calpine is mainly focused on solar energy development but also noted the company has more geothermal opportunities in California.

"We have a fair amount of geothermal still yet to be developed farther north in California in Glass Mountain that we think has enormous potential in the California marketplace," May said.

Calpine holds leases to develop the Glass Mountain geothermal resource in the Mount Shasta region of Northern California.

Calpine also owns and operates the 725-megawatt Geysers geothermal plant about 72 miles north of San Francisco and last week announced a five-year program to increase production by 80 megawatts.

Glass Mountain is believed to be the largest known undeveloped geothermal resource in the United States with a potential on the order of 500 megawatts.

The site, however, is an area that American Indians consider sacred, and development as a geothermal project is uncertain and faces legal challenges.

May said there are some infrastructure issues and social issues around development at Glass Mountain, "but to me there is great opportunity on geothermal there."

(For more on the Reuters Global Energy Summit, see <ID:nSP307799>)

(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)