Panda Temple gas plant starts testing; should open this summer

Testing has apparently started at the Panda Temple plant, which could be producing power commercially for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market by the dog days of summer.

In a blog posted online June 11, Genscape’s John Typadis and Laura Howlett reported that Panda appeared to be testing the plant as evidenced by plumes detected coming out of one of the stacks during the weekend of June 6.

“Temper is in the shakeout phase,” a spokesperson for Panda Power Funds said in a June 12 email to GenerationHub. “It is expected to come online later this summer.”

The Panda Temple I project is a natural gas-fueled, 758-MW combined-cycle facility. Once built, the Temple power plant is expected to supply the power needs of approximately 750,000 homes and should infuse approximately $1.6bn into the Central Texas economy, Panda says on its website.

According to information filed with the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and ERCOT the plant is scheduled for commercial operation sometime between June and August, Genscape noted.

“This plant employs “quick start” turbines which can achieve 50% output in 30 minutes and full output in 60 minutes which is why it is considered by many industry players to be one of the most significant generation developments in ERCOT this year,” the Genscape officials said.

“Its construction and impending operation comes at a critical time as peak loads are beginning to increase due to elevated temperatures and building of cooling load and the new monitor should provide hints as to operational behavior and patterns,” Genscape said.

The new Knob Creek substation has been built on the Panda Temple plant site to connect it the grid. The Knob Creek substation will have two lines to connect it to the Temple 345 kV substation and to the Salado 345 kV substation.

Panda is developing several combined-cycle gas power plants in Texas as well as the Mid-Atlantic.

Panda’s gas-fueled power projects include Sherman, Liberty, Mattawoman, Stonewall and Patriot.

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.