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For the town in California, see Calpine, California.
Type Public
Traded as NYSECPN
Founders Peter Cartwright
Headquarters Calpine Center
Houston, Texas
, United States

Calpine Corporation is a Fortune 500 power company founded in 1984 in San Jose, California.

Calpine's headquarters were permanently moved from San Jose to Houston, Texas in 2009. The company's stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CPN until it was delisted on December 5, 2005 due to low share price.[1] On 1/31/08, Calpine emerged from bankruptcy and again trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol CPN.[2] The company is headquartered in the Calpine Center in Downtown Houston.[3]


In response to the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis, much legislation was passed that made domestic energy production an attractive enterprise. In 1984, Peter Cartwright and four of his co-workers, the Guy F. Atkinson Construction Company of South San Francisco, and the Electrowatt corporation struck an investment arrangement and Calpine was born with initial capital of US$1 million. It was essentially a Silicon Valley startup company. The name "Calpine" is derived from the company's California location and alpine, a reference to the Zürich home base of Electrowatt. Calpine is the world's largest provider of geothermal energy, and largest natural gas fueled power producer in North America.[4]

As of 2011, the directors of Calpine are J. Stuart Ryan, Frank Cassidy, Jack A. Fusco, Robert C. Hinckley, David C. Merritt, W. Benjamin Moreland, Robert A. Mosbacher, Jr., William E. Oberndorf, and Denise M. O'Leary.[5]

In 2004, the directors of Calpine Canada Energy Finance Ulc were Charles B. Clark Jr., Kenneth T. Derr, Jeffery E. Garten,[6] Gerald Greenwald, Susan Schwab, George J. Stathakis, Susan Wang, and John O. Wilson.[7]

  • 1984: provider of management services for independent energy companies
  • 1988: first power production
  • 1992: assets of US $21 billion
  • 1994: 141 MW capacity
  • 1996: largest IPO ever for an independent energy company
  • 1997: purchase of Montis Niger natural gas fields and pipelines in the Sacramento Valley
  • 1998: purchased 45 gas turbine power plants
  • 1999: purchased 18 gas turbine power plants
  • 1999: purchase of Houston's Sheridan Energy, a gas exploration and production company
  • 1999: acquired PG&E's plants at The Geysers, making Calpine the world's largest geothermal provider[8]
  • 2000: 3,355 MW capacity from 58 facilities
  • 2001: Established Canadian headquarters offices in Calgary, Alberta Canada.
  • 2001: purchase of first European facility in the United Kingdom
  • 2001: world's ninth largest electricity producer
  • 2001: stock price exceeds US$50.00 per share
  • 2001: the California electricity crisis
  • 2001: collapse of Enron Corporation
  • 2001: a US$17 billion four-year growth drive with about 50% financing scaled back in face of economic downturn
  • 2002: 13,000 MW capacity
  • 2003: Calgary Energy Centre in Calgary, Alberta Canada goes online.
  • 2004: 22,000 MW capacity; 89 energy centers in 21 states, Canada, and the UK
  • 2004: Investment bank Lehman Brothers begins shorting Calpine, with researcher Christine Daley lacking confidence in the Calpine Chief Financial Officer, the accounting, and the high debt. This information spreads to clients of Lehman. By the time Calpine goes bankrupt in 2005, Lehman will profit roughly $100,000,000 from the short.[9]
  • 2005: November: CEO Peter Cartwright and CFO Bob Kelly are fired.[1]
  • 2005: December 20: Calpine files bankruptcy, US$22 billion in debt. Calpine's aggressive leveraged expansion plan was unsupportable in the economic environment formed by the 2000-2001 California energy crisis and the collapse of Enron. Stock price dropped to less than US$0.30 per share. Delisted from NYSE.[1][1]
  • 2008: On 1/31/08, Calpine emerges from bankruptcy. Previous stock was exchanged for warrants. New Calpine stock began trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "CPN."[2]
  • 2009: Moved corporate headquarters from San Jose, California to Houston, Texas.
  • 2010: Acquired Conectiv Energy (generation) from Pepco Holdings[10][11]

Power plants[edit]


On March 29, 2002, Calpine Corp. announced to restate its 2001 earnings after learning certain emission reduction credits it purchased that year were not available. Earnings would be lowered by about $11.5 million after tax. On March 3, 2003, Calpine planned to record as financing transactions two sale-leaseback transactions previously accounted for as operating leases, resulting in the restatement of results for 2000, 2001 and 2002.[14] On Feb 24, 2005, Calpine said to restate its results for the third quarter and nine months ended Sept. 30, 2004, to correct the tax provision on discontinued operations.


  1. ^ a b c d "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Dec 5, 2005". Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Feb 1, 2008". Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Contact." Calpine. Retrieved on November 11, 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Jeffery E. Garten
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date May 24, 1999". Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, Lawrence G McDonald, Patrick Robinson, Crown (Random House), 2009, p99-p105, 154
  10. ^ "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Apr 21, 2010". Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ "=Calpine Provides Update on Financial Audits; Company to Modify Treatment of Two Leases". 

External links[edit]