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For the town in California, see Calpine, California.
Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN)
Traded as NYSECPN
Founder Peter Cartwright
Headquarters Calpine Center
Houston, Texas
, United States

Calpine Corporation is America’s largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources. A Fortune 500 company based in Houston, Texas, the company’s stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CPN. Its fleet of 83 power plants in operation or under construction represents nearly 27,000 megawatts of generation capacity. Through wholesale power operations and its retail business, Champion Energy, Calpine serves customers in 19 states and Canada.[1][2]

The company specializes in developing, constructing, owning and operating natural gas-fired and renewable geothermal power plants. In 2014, while M.J. Bradley & Associates ranked Calpine as the nation’s eighth largest power producer, it ranked the company 77th, 79th and 70th with regard to emissions of SO2, NOx and CO2, respectively, with no mercury emissions in its gas-fired fleet.[3] These results reflect efficient operation of a modern fleet with no coal-fired generation.

Calpine’s predominantly gas-fired fleet also benefits from the nations’ abundant and affordable supply of natural gas and the increasing need for dispatchable power plants to successfully integrate intermittent renewables into the grid. The company advocates for responsible environmental regulation, competitive wholesale power markets and market-driven solutions that result in nondiscriminatory forward price signals for investors.[4]

As of 2015, the directors of Calpine are Executive Chairman Jack Fusco, Lead Independent Director Frank Cassidy, CEO Thad Hill, Michael W. Hoffmann, David C. Merritt, W. Benjamin Moreland, Robert A. Mosbacher, Jr., and Denise M. O'Leary. The executive leadership team includes President /CEO Thad Hill, EVP/Chief Legal Officer Thad Miller, EVP/Chief Financial Officer Zamir Rauf and EVP/Chief Commercial Officer Trey Griggs.


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 original California location and alpine, a reference to the Zürich home base of Electrowatt. Calpine is the largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources in the United States.

  • 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
  • 1998: purchased 45 gas turbine power plants
  • 1999: purchased 18 gas turbine power plants
  • 1999: acquired PG&E's plants at The Geysers, making Calpine the world's largest geothermal provider[5]
  • 2001: the California electricity crisis
  • 2004: Investment bank Lehman Brothers begins shorting Calpine, with researcher Christine Daley lacking confidence in the Calpine. 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.[6]
  • 2005: November: CEO Peter Cartwright and CFO Bob Kelly leave the company.[7]
  • 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.[7][7]
  • 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."
  • 2008: Executive leadership team headed by President and CEO Jack Fusco join the company.
  • 2009: Moved corporate headquarters from San Jose, California to Houston, Texas.
  • 2010: Acquired Conectiv Energy (generation) from Pepco Holdings[8][9]
  • 2010: Calpine dedicates the Geothermal Visitor Center and celebrates 50 years of geothermal power production at The Geysers in Northern California.
  • 2010: Thad Hill is named Chief Operating Officer.
  • 2012: Calpine’s power plant fleet generates a record 116 million MWh of electricity.
  • 2013: Calpine rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on January 18.
  • 2014: Jack Fusco becomes Calpine’s Executive Chairman of the Board and Thad Hill becomes the company’s Chief Executive Officer effective May 21.
  • 2014: Calpine executes on a strategic priority by selling six power plants in its Southeast region.
  • 2015: Calpine acquired award-winning retail electric provider Champion Energy, expanding customer channels in its core Texas and Northeastern U.S. markets.

Power plants[edit]

Click here for a full and current list of Calpine Corporation’s power plants.


  1. ^, multiple pages. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Calpine Corporation quarterly and annual reports, 2008-2015: Retrieved July 10, 2015
  3. ^ M. J. Bradley & Associates. Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States. May 2014.
  4. ^ Calpine Corporate press releases, Multiple dates. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date May 24, 1999". Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, Lawrence G McDonald, Patrick Robinson, Crown (Random House), 2009, p99-p105, 154
  7. ^ a b c "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Dec 1, 2005". Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Calpine, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Apr 21, 2010" (PDF). Retrieved Mar 19, 2013. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]