Bechtel completes 758-MW Panda Sherman project in Texas

Bechtel said Nov. 20 that it has completed the Panda Sherman Power project in Sherman, Texas, two weeks ahead of schedule.

The 758-MW natural gas-fueled combined-cycle facility is owned by Panda Power Funds and boasts advanced emissions control technology that makes it one of the cleanest plants in the nation. The commissioning of Panda Sherman follows the early completion of Panda Power Temple I, an identical plant that Bechtel built recently in Temple, Texas.

“The Bechtel-Siemens consortium is an incredibly strong partnership that has exceeded our expectations,” said Todd Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds. “They handed over a quality plant that is producing reliable power for approximately 758,000 homes in North Texas sooner than expected.”  

The Panda Sherman plant is one of the fastest-starting power plants of its kind in the country. The combustion turbines can synchronize in 10 minutes and reach full load within 30 minutes. The entire plant can achieve full power production within 60 minutes, which helps offset fluctuations on the electric grid when renewable-energy power sources aren’t available. 

“The expertise and collaboration of the team, including consortium partner Siemens, enabled us to bring the plant online ahead of schedule while maintaining the highest safety and quality standards,” said Mary McLaughlin, president of Bechtel’s thermal power business line. “The team’s commitment to safely delivering the project as quickly as possible was evidenced by its ability to build the facility without any lost-time accidents.”

As part of a consortium with Siemens, Bechtel provided project management, engineering, procurement, construction, and startup services while Siemens provided the power-island package, including the natural gas and steam turbines, generators, and waste-heat-recovery boilers.

“Working alongside Bechtel, we were able to bring world-class expertise to one of the cleanest and most efficient plants in the nation,” said Martin Tartibi, senior executive vice president at Siemens Energy Solutions Americas. “The plant’s advanced technology enables the plant to produce higher power output on higher temperature days, which is important in this region.”

Bechtel and Siemens also are working in a consortium to deliver the Panda Temple II Generating Station, adjacent to Panda Temple I, and the Panda Stonewall Power Project in Leesburg, Virginia. All four projects are similar in size and, when completed, will collectively generate enough electricity to power almost 3 million homes.

Siemens says this is cutting-edge, fast-start technology

Panda Sherman is now the second Flex-Plant in commercial operation in Texas, Siemens noted in its own Nov. 20 statement. Like its sister plant in Temple, the plant is a Siemens Flex-Plant configuration. Siemens secured a long-term service agreement for the plant’s main generation components, and Siemens Financial Services (SFS) helped finance the project with a $35m term loan to partially fund construction. In this way, Siemens provided both highly efficient technology and complementary financing support to Panda Power Funds in order to support the completion of this project.

Flex-Plant CCPPs offer high efficiency and operational flexibility, providing the right solution for any duty service. Innovative design features are incorporated to enable fast start, and fast ramping up and down across a large operating window from low plant turn-down to high plant output with Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions less than 10 parts-per-million (ppm), and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions less than 2.0 ppm.

Siemens provided for Panda’s Sherman Plant the thermodynamic cycle design and Power Island engineering, and also delivered two SGT6-5000F gas turbines, one SST6-5000 steam turbine, two SGen6-1000A generators, one SGen6-2000H generator, the SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control system as well as two Benson heavy duct-fired heat recovery steam generators (manufactured by NEM USA Corp.) and other key cycle components. The gas turbines, steam turbines and generators were manufactured at the Siemens North American manufacturing hub in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 2012, Siemens received the first two orders from Panda Power Funds for the turnkey supply of the Panda Temple Power Project in Temple, Texas, as well as the Panda Sherman Power Project in Sherman, Texas. In 2013 three more orders followed – the turnkey supply in consortium with Bechtel of Panda Temple II, two integrated power islands with H-class technology for the Liberty CCPP, and for the Patriot CCPP, both located in Pennsylvania. On Nov. 17, it was announced that Siemens, in consortium with Bechtel, had been awarded the order for the supply of Panda’s Stonewall Energy Project in Leesburg, Virginia.

To meet the challenges posed by Texas’ vast amount of wind generation, Panda said it designed the Sherman facility to be one of the fastest starting power plants of its kind in the nation. The combustion turbines can begin producing electricity in 10 minutes and reach full load within 30 minutes. The entire plant can achieve maximum power production in less than 60 minutes to help make up for lost power when the wind stops blowing. Conventional natural gas power plants take 30 minutes to begin producing electricity and can take up to three hours to achieve full power production. The plant has also been designed with gas turbines that operate at a higher power output during high temperature conditions. This capability is ideal for the Texas market given the state’s normally hot summers which put an increased strain on the state’s power grid.

Founded in 2010, Panda Power Funds is a private equity firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Panda has two combined-cycle power plants in operation in Temple and Sherman, Texas, and four combined-cycle power plants currently under construction in Texas, Pennsylvania and Virginia with a combined capacity of more than 4,700 MW. Panda Power Funds also has an 859-MW power project in Southern Maryland in advanced development. The fund built a 20-MW solar farm in southwest New Jersey that is one of the largest solar facilities in the Northeast United States.

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.