Panda commits to 758-MW expansion of Texas power project

Panda Power Funds said April 4 that it has completed financing on a 758-MW expansion of its natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle power plant currently under construction in Temple, Texas.

When completed, the Temple I and II generating stations will have a combined capacity of 1,516 MW. The Temple II transaction represents the third financing of a power plant by Panda Power Funds in eight months. The Temple I financing occurred in July 2012.

Panda Power Funds is supplying equity for the Temple II project along with several other institutional co-investors. Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse arranged the senior debt financing for the plant. Ares Capital was the documentation agent.

“Our team continues to perform as promised,” said Todd Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds. “With more than 2,250 megawatts of capacity under construction in Texas, we have given our investors a first-mover advantage in one of the fastest growing electricity markets in the nation.”

The Panda Temple II project has been strategically sited along the I-35 corridor, approximately midway between San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth, 60 miles North of Austin, the company noted. The Temple II facility is scheduled to enter commercial operation by the summer of 2015.

According to a study conducted by Impact Data Source of Austin, Texas, the construction of a 758-MW combined-cycle project, such as the Temple II facility, will contribute an estimated $1.6bn to the area’s economy during construction and the plant’s first 10 years of operation. Approximately 700-800 jobs will be created to construct the Temple II plant at peak construction. During operations, the combined generating stations will create 35 skilled jobs to operate the facilities and an estimated 90 indirect jobs within the community to support the plants.

Plants will share common facilities

While Temple II is a stand-alone power project, it will share common facilities, laterals, operations and construction synergies with Temple I. Each state-of-the-art plant will also utilize the latest, most advanced combustion turbine and emissions-control technology, making them two of the cleanest, most efficient natural gas-fueled power plants in the United States, the company added.

Both plants will use recycled effluent for cooling purposes to help conserve the state’s natural supply of drinking water. In addition, the facilities will employ quick-start turbines, which can deliver 50% power output within 10 minutes of startup and 100% power output within 30 minutes, making the plants ideally suited for a state which has more (intermittent) wind energy than any other state in the country. Both stations will be supplied with natural gas from Texas producers.

Panda Power Funds selected a turn-key consortium of Bechtel and Siemens Energy to build the Temple II facility. As a part of the contract, Siemens will provide the power island package including the natural gas turbines, steam turbine, waste heat recovery boilers, and instrument and control systems. Bechtel will be responsible for the engineering and procurement for the balance of the plant, and the installation, construction and commissioning of the facility.

Bechtel says this makes three projects in Texas with Panda

Bechtel said April 4 that the company has been awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the Panda Temple II Generating Station. This is the third power facility to be built by Bechtel and consortium partner Siemens for Panda Power Funds. The consortium is also designing and building the Panda Temple I Generating Station and the Panda Sherman Power Project in Sherman, Texas. All three projects are identical in size, and when completed, will be among the most efficient natural gas-fueled power plants in the U.S.

“We have been impressed with Bechtel’s planning, execution, and professionalism,” said Carter. “For the past 12 months, we have seen continued progress and on-time performance at our Temple I and Sherman construction sites. The quality of their work, together with Siemens, has confirmed to date that we made the right decision in choosing this consortium to construct our state-of-the-art plants.”

“This project, along with Panda Temple I and Panda Sherman, represents more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power. Together, the projects play an important part in advancing the combined cycle gas market in the U.S.,” said Alasdair Cathcart, president of Bechtel’s power business. 

Bechtel will be responsible for project management, engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the Panda Temple II facility. Siemens will provide the power-island package, including the natural gas and steam turbines, and waste heat recovery boilers. Once completed at the end of 2015, the power generating station will be able to supply the power needs of approximately 750,000 homes in the Central Texas area.

Founded in 2010, Panda Power Funds is a private equity firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, which has the ability to internally source and develop, acquire, invest in, and operate large-scale, natural gas-fueled power generation facilities. The company also recently built a utility-scale, 20-MW solar farm in Pilesgrove, N.J.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.