Calpine to buy large power plant near San Antonio

HOUSTON — Calpine Corp. is buying a natural gas-fired power plant near San Antonio for $625 million, another acquisition in Texas as it looks to build its footprint in the state, the company said Monday.

The Houston-based power generator said it’s buying the 1,050 megawatt, combined-cycle power generating facility from MinnTex Power Holdings, a private equity-backed power company. The plant sits on a 110-acre site in Guadalupe County about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio.

It’s a larger grab than Calpine’s $432 million power plant acquisition in Central Texas last year and it has more capacity than two plants it bought in California in recent months.

Calpine is making moves in Texas as electricity demand is increasing and reserve margins are tightening, CEO Jack Fusco said in a written statement.

The deal is slated to close in the first quarter.

“Acquiring this modern, flexible and efficient plant in ERCOT’s south zone at a discount to replacement cost furthers our strategic objectives in this key market,” Fusco said.

Apart from its recent acquisitions, Calpine also has made some expansions in two energy centers in the Houston area.

During a third-quarter earnings conference call, Fusco said the combination of a growing economy and proposed regulatory changes “could make Texas one of the best places to invest in the sector, even while the debate continues around what the final modified market construct will be.”

Fusco said the company is focusing on single-plant acquisitions.

Calpine shares inched up about 1 percent to $19.10 in early trading Monday.