Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and other officials on Aug. 12 joined Panda Power Funds for a groundbreaking on its 829-MW Patriot gas-fired plant in Montgomery, Pa.
The project is designed to begin commercial operation by mid 2016. Patriot will use Siemens H-Class gas turbines, a technology that should achieve plant operating efficiencies of 60%. Patriot is only the second power plant in Pennsylvania, after Panda’s Liberty Energy Center, specifically developed to take advantage of its proximity to the Marcellus Shale gas formation.
The generating station will be located on an 85-acre site in Montgomery, approximately 60 miles north of Harrisburg.
The plant’s proximity to Marcellus natural gas is expected to provide the project with significant operating cost advantages, officials said. During the ceremony, Gov. Corbett announced that the power project will contribute an estimated $5.85bn to Pennsylvania’s economy during construction and the plant’s first 10 years of operation.
Panda announced in late 2013 that it had completed the acquisition of the rights to the Patriot project from Moxie Energy.
The combined-cycle facility will create about 500 construction jobs, 27 plant operation jobs and 45 indirect jobs to support the plant.
The Panda Patriot project will provide power to the eastern portion of the PJM Interconnection, North America’s largest transmission system serving approximately 61 million people in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. PJM is in need of new generating capacity as approximately 20,000 MW of coal power generation is scheduled to retire by 2016. PJM also has an aging generating fleet in need of replacement, with 70,000 MW of generation having an average age of 56 years, Panda said.
The Patriot facility will be air-cooled and, as a result, won’t discharge water into the Western Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Founded in 2010, Panda Power Funds is a private equity firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, which has the ability to develop, acquire, construct, finance and operate large-scale, natural gas power generation facilities.
Panda has five combined-cycle power plants currently under construction in Texas and Pennsylvania with a total capacity of nearly 4,000 MW and has announced a 750-MW combined-cycle power plant in Northern Virginia and an 859-MW power facility in Southern Maryland.
In addition to state and local officials, Panda Power Funds President and Senior Partner Todd W. Carter, Siemens Energy Vice President and Central Region Executive Gregory Snyder and Gemma Power Systems CEO William (Bill) F. Griffin, Jr., participated in the Aug. 12 ceremony.
Gemma will build the plant through a joint venture with The Lane Construction Corp. Gemma-Lane will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor (EPC), and Siemens Energy will provide the power island package including the natural gas turbines, steam turbines, generators, heat recovery steam generators, and instrument and control systems.