Calpine Corporation the San Jose-based independent power company and Kansas City-based Aquila, Inc., the energy services subsidiary of UtiliCorp United, today announced their Aries Power Project joint venture had entered simple-cycle operations.

Located near Pleasant Hill, Missouri, Aries is a new, highly efficient natural gas-fired power project intended to serve the growing demand for electricity in the region. Initially, the facility will be able to respond to peak summer demand by operating in a simple-cycle phase. The simple cycle configuration utilizes two natural gas fuelled combustion turbines and generates 320 MW of electricity.

The project will temporarily cease operations in October to complete the construction necessary to bring a steam turbine online in January 2002. Upon completion, Aries will become a combined-cycle plant providing a total of 600 MW of power to Missouri and the surrounding area.

Calpine is responsible for operations and maintenance of the Aries Power Project with Aquila responsible for commercial optimization and power sales.

Throughout simple-cycle operation, all of the electrical output of the Aries Power Project will be sold under contract to Missouri Public Service, providing reliability to its customer base and meeting the increasing power demands of the area. Missouri Public Service is also owned by UtiliCorp United. Once the project is converted to combined-cycle in 2002, additional energy will be sold into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) wholesale power market.

“As a result of this collaborative effort, the Aries Power Project will provide clean, reliable power for years to come,” commented Bob Bingham, Calpine’s plant manager. “The geographic location of this new facility enables us to meet the increasing power demands of Missouri and the SPP with the most innovative and reliable technology available.”