Hayward Leaders Oppose Restarting Power Plant Following Explosion

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Hayward city leaders on Thursday were taking a stand against restarting the Russell City Energy Center following a mysterious explosion in May.

The explosion sent chunks of metal flying hundreds of feet from the plant. Nearby residents had to evacuate due to highly explosive hydrogen gas.

Both Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday and City Manager Kelly McAdoo made it clear they are against Calpine Corporation restarting operations at the power plant until answers are provided to explain the explosion, with Halliday laying out four points that need to be addressed.

The points include finding and researching the cause of the explosion, researching why the debris from the explosion went so far, assuring and verifying that the conditions that led to or contributed to the fire no longer exist, and a full assessment of both the safety risks and the environmental health risks.

The company began operating at the location in 2013. Right now, Calpine has submitted an application to restart and operate at 58%.

"Frankly, we are astonished and appalled at this application and your staff's recommendation of approval," Halliday said. "This application puts profit and feeding the grid ahead of the safety of our residents and people working in or at or in proximity to this seemingly unsafe power plant. The health and safety and environmental justice concerns of the Hayward community cannot be ignored."

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