Friday, March 23, 2012

Fascinating Fact: Calpine Is America's Largest Natural Gas Consuming Company

Consuming 3% of all natural gas and 10% of all gas generating electricity, Calpine is the single, largest consumer of natural gas.  Calpine also is the largest geothermal generator of electricity in the country  and ranks third in generating renewable electricity, if hydropower is excluded, an admittedly big exception.

Calpine has a total 28,081 megawatts of power generation at 92 plants, with 1,695 megawatts operating in Pennsylvania, including a new natural gas plant that came on line last year in York county.

As a result of the current very low gas prices, Calpine's natural gas generation is dispatching at prices well-below its coal competitors.  Indeed, natural gas plants are now running as baseload in many markets.  Low natural gas prices, therefore, are allowing Calpine and other natural gas plants to capture generation market share.

But the low natural gas price is a two-edged sword for electricity generators using gas, since the low-natural gas prices are cutting the wholesale price of electricity that all generators get paid for their electricity production. For whom are the low natural gas prices nothing but good news? Retail consumers in competitive gas and power markets who collectively are saving tens of billions of dollars.

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