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Calpine Dedicates Fish Ladder to U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson

02/19/2009
Unique Project at Big Sulfur Creek in California Helps Improve Steelhead Migration

HOUSTON & SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 19, 2009-- The project was more than six years in the making from conception to reality, but migrating steelhead trout finally have a specially designed ladder to help them make it to the upper reaches of Big Sulfur Creek to spawn. The recently completed fish passage improvement project was dedicated today by Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN) to U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson , First Congressional District of California, for his leadership and commitment to protecting California’s natural resources.

The Big Sulfur Creek fish ladder, a joint venture between Calpine, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), now provides unobstructed, year-around access to the largest suitable spawning and rearing habitat on Big Sulfur Creek above the confluence with Squaw Creek.

“Calpine has long been committed to protecting our environment and preserving our natural resources, as has Congressman Mike Thompson ,” said Mike Rogers , Senior Vice President, Geothermal Plants atCalpine. “We were pleased to work with him, NMFS and CDFG, along with several contractors who added their expertise, to design and build this project on our Geysers Geothermal Operations property to accommodate migrating fish. It was our goal to help preserve and increase steelhead spawning and rearing habitat, and we feel that has been accomplished with this project.”

“Wildlife conservation and green energy production don’t have to be in conflict,” said Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). “California’s steelhead population has declined by almost 90 percent since the 1960’s, and we must continue to work hard on protecting their habitats so they can rebuild their populations. At the same time, as our economy shifts towards more renewable energy sources, we will need more, not less geothermal energy plants like The Geysers. This innovative, unique fish ladder shows there is a fish-friendly approach to green energy generation. I’m proud that our district continues to lead the way in finding green conservation solutions.”

Steelhead trout spawn from December through April in coarse gravel areas of small streams and tributaries where cool, well-oxygenated water is available year-round. Big Sulfur Creek is one of the largest tributaries to the Russian River in Sonoma County. However, much of Big Sulfur Creek aboveSquaw Creek is naturally unsuitable for spawning and rearing, placing a premium on those few areas that are.

“This is rich steelhead habitat. Recently, over 2,400 adult and juvenile steelhead were found in the project area. Calpine's fish ladder will provide a real benefit to this threatened species,” said Steve Edmondson , Northern California Habitat Supervisor, National Marine Fisheries Service. “Calpine's ladder is designed to provide fish passage over a wide range of flows, allowing adult and juvenile fish to find optimal conditions throughout the year. Partnering with Calpine on this project was a win-win for benign, renewable energy and steelhead.”

A road crossing on The Geysers property, consisting of a triple concrete box culvert, was found to be a partial barrier to fish migrating upstream. After several studies were conducted and options evaluated, a pool and chute fish ladder design was ultimately developed to provide suitable passage conditions within the culvert.

At moderate to high water levels, the ladder was shaped to create stable streaming flow conditions along its margins. Combined with ladder steps designed to provide juvenile fish passage at lower flows, it allows upstream fish migration over a wider range of stream flows compared to traditional fish ladders.

Russian River steelhead runs in the 1970s were estimated to be on the order of 65,000 fish, but by the mid 1990s, estimates plummeted to as low as 1,750 fish. Each year, Russian River steelhead make the more than 70-mile journey from the ocean to spawn in their natural habitats including Big Sulfur Creek. The fish that make it find an oasis of good spawning habitat in one of the most active geothermal areas of the world.

The fish ladder project at The Geysers was completed in October 2008. An early October storm watered up the ladder and resident fish have been observed using it ever since.

About Calpine

Calpine Corporation is helping meet the needs of an economy that demands more and cleaner sources of electricity. Founded in 1984, Calpine is a major U.S. power company, currently capable of delivering over 24,000 megawatts of clean, cost-effective, reliable and fuel-efficient electricity to customers and communities in 16 states in the United States and Canada. Calpine owns, leases, and operates low-carbon, natural gas-fueled, and renewable geothermal power plants. Using advanced technologies,Calpine generates electricity in a reliable and environmentally responsible manner for the customers and communities it serves. Please visit www.calpine.com for more information.

Forward-Looking Information

In addition to historical information, this release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Words such as "believe," "intend," "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "may," "will" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Such statements include, among others, those concerning expected financial performance and strategic and operational plans, as well as assumptions, expectations, predictions, intentions or beliefs about future events. You are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that a number of risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Please see the risks identified in this release or in Calpine's reports and registration statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, the risk factors identified in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2008. These filings are available by visiting theSecurities and Exchange Commission's web site at www.sec.gov or Calpine's web site at www.calpine.com. Actual results or developments may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, and Calpine undertakes no obligation to update any such statements.

Source: Calpine Corporation

Calpine Corporation
Media Relations:
Norma F. Dunn, 713-830-8883
norma.dunn@calpine.com
or
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Andre Walker, 713-830-8775
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