Russell City Energy Center

Calpine Russell Engery Center before the explosion

The City of Hayward announced on June 28, 2021, it opposes a request by Calpine to restart its Russell City Energy Center until the cause of a recent explosion at the power plant is known, and an assessment and public review of potential environmental and health impacts of the proposed resumption of operations is complete.


Shortly before midnight on May 27, the Hayward Fire Department responded to a major fire at the power plant following the catastrophic failure and explosion of a steam turbine at the facility, which is located at 3862 Depot Road in Hayward.

Though no injuries were reported from the explosion and fire, the debris field from the blast was extensive with pieces and chunks of metal propelled hundreds of feet—including one weighing 15 pounds that crashed through the roof of an unoccupied trailer at the City’s Housing Navigation Center at Whitesell Street and Depot Road, some 1200 feet away.  The Navigation Center provides transitional shelter for people experiencing homelessness.  Another piece, weighing 51 pounds, landed on the City’s Water Pollution Control Facility.

The power plant, which began operations in August 2013, is a combined-cycle facility comprised of two gas turbines and a steam turbine.  It generates electricity from natural gas and generally is relied upon to deliver power during peak periods of demand primarily in summer months.  The steam turbine that experienced the catastrophic failure receives heat from the high temperature exhaust gases generated by the gas-powered turbines and uses the heat to produce steam to drive the steam turbine and generate additional electricity. 

Calpine's application to restart:

The California Energy Commission approved on Thursday, July 15, an application by Calpine Corp. to resume operation of its Russell City Energy Center power plant following an unexplained explosion and over the objections of the City of Hayward.

To read the Calpine’s application to restart the power plant and CEC staff-level statement of approval of the application go here on the CEC website. To provide public comment to the CEC on the application, use this CEC online form or mail written comments to:

California Energy Commission Docket Unit, MS-4
Docket No. 01-AFC—07C
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA, 95814-5512  

According to the CEC, questions about the matter can be directed to John Heiser, Compliance Project Manager for the Office of Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, at (916) 628-5566 or via email at

For more information on public participation, the CEC says to contact the Public Advisor at (916) 654-4489 or (800) 822-6228 (toll-free in California), or by email to

For news media inquiries, the CEC says to direct them to the Media Office at (916) 654-4989, or by email to

Documents and meeting recordings:

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