Panda buys rights to natural gas power project in Virginia

Dallas-based Panda Power Funds said Sept. 24 that it has acquired the rights to a planned 750-MW combined-cycle power plant in Northern Virginia that has been developed by Green Energy Partners/Stonewall.

Panda Power Funds’ partners in the Stonewall project include a subsidiary of the Bechtel Corp., and Green Energy Partners/Stonewall, the project’s original developer. Panda expects to be 100% owner of the project before construction begins, a Panda spokesperson told GenerationHub.

Panda has a couple of major gas-fueled projects under construction in Texas and in recent months has reached deals to acquire the rights to proposed plants in Maryland and Pennsylvania that can serve the PJM Interconnection market.

The Stonewall project has been designed in anticipation of greenhouse gas regulations and will easily meet the new carbon emissions standards recently proposed by the U.S. EPA. The project received its air permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in April of 2013, Panda said.

The generating station will be located on a 101-acre parcel approximately four miles south/southeast of Leesburg, Va. The site is located near a local airport and an old stone quarry. Bechtel is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Stonewall facility.

Panda seeks Virginia certificate of necessity

Construction will take approximately 30 months and will commence upon financing, regulatory approvals and other conditions. Panda filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Virginia State Corporation Commission Sept. 20.

Stonewall is currently controlled by its three members: GEP/S Holdings LLC, Bechtel Development, and Panda Midatlantic Development, according to the SCC filing.

The gas-fueled Stonewall power project in Loudoun County would be able to supply the energy needs of about 750,000 homes around the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. No purchase price was disclosed.

The generating station will use reclaimed municipal waste water from the Town of Leesburg to cool the plant. The Stonewall plant will also be a “zero-liquid-discharge” plant, returning no waste water to a treatment facility.

Panda said the project is located in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The region is also home to the Dulles Technology Corridor, a national hub for data storage, defense and technology companies. About 70% of the world’s Internet traffic flows through Loudoun County. At present, the county imports 100% of its power needs from neighboring areas, Panda said.

The facility will also be built along existing transmission lines, eliminating the need for additional power lines that would otherwise be required to import power from outside of Loudoun County. The Panda spokesperson said the site is located at the 230-kV Pleasant View-to-Brambleton line.

Panda currently has three 758 MW plants under construction in Sherman, Texas and Temple, Texas, and an 829 MW plant under construction in Bradford County, Pa., all of which were financed without long-term power purchase agreements, according to Panda’s SCC filing.

Panda has not ruled out including some solar power on the site, which was part of Green Energy Partners’ early plans.

The natural gas plant will be configured with tow combustion turbines (CTs), two heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) with duct burners and one steam turbine generator.

“The Panda Stonewall plant will strengthen the reliability of the power supply in a region of increasing importance to the security of the nation,” said Panda Power Funds President and Senior Partner Todd W. Carter.

“We found an excellent partner in Panda,” said John Andrews, managing partner of Green Energy Partners/Stonewall. “They have more than 3,100 megawatts of capacity under construction in Texas and Pennsylvania. Panda knows how to get the job done,” Andrews said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.