Panda finances Stonewall project in Virginia; construction just starting

Panda Power Funds said Nov. 17 that it has successfully financed its 778-MW combined-cycle power plant located in Loudoun County, Virginia.

When commissioned, the natural gas-fueled Panda Stonewall generating station will be able to supply the power needs of approximately 778,000 homes in the Northern Virginia/District of Columbia metropolitan area. Panda will immediately begin construction on the 101-acre site and expects the facility to enter commercial operations during the spring of 2017.

Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, ICBC, Investec, MUFG Union Bank and Ares acted as joint lead arrangers for the senior debt financing of the plant which received a credit rating of BB- by the Standard & Poor’s rating agency. Panda Stonewall raised debt capital totaling $571m.

The transaction marks the sixth financing of a large scale power facility by Panda Power Funds in the last three years, representing approximately $5bn in combined capital. The fund is supplying equity for the Stonewall project along with large institutional co-investors, including Siemens Financial Services.

“The United States is in the early stages of an energy revolution away from coal toward clean natural gas. Three years ago, Panda Power Funds set out to help drive that revolution by building the cleanest, most efficient fleet of natural gas-fueled power plants in the nation,” said Todd W. Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds. “The financing of the Stonewall plant is an important step forward in achieving that vision. Today, we have eight power projects — four are under construction, three are in operation and one is in advanced development. And we’re just getting started.”

Panda Power Funds acquired a majority stake in the Stonewall project from GEP/S Holdings LLC, the project’s original developer, and Bechtel in May 2013. GEP/S Holdings began work on the Stonewall project in late 2008. The project received its air permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in April 2013 and its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) in May 2014.

Panda Power Funds selected a turn-key consortium of Bechtel and Siemens Energy Inc. to build the Stonewall facility. The firms are two of the largest power contractors and technology providers in the world. As a part of the contract, Siemens will provide the power island package including the natural gas turbines, steam turbine, generators, heat recovery steam generators, and instrumentation and controls systems. The turbines for the Stonewall generating station will be manufactured at Siemens’ manufacturing facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bechtel will be responsible for the engineering and procurement for the balance of the plant, and the installation, construction and commissioning of the facility.

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-fueled power facilities. 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 project in Southern Maryland in advanced development under the name Mattawoman Energy LLC, with Maryland Public Service Commission approval still pending. The project is a two-on-one, combined-cycle facility configured with two Siemens H-class combustion turbines, two heat recovery steam generators with supplemental duct firing, and one steam turbine generator in a multishaft arrangement.

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.