Panda Power Funds LP has announced that it’s moving ahead with plans for a 1,000 MW natural gas-fired power plant in central Pennsylvania that it expects to be operational by late 2017.
The facility plans to use Marcellus Shale gas produced in Pennsylvania.
The Dallas-based private equity firm is in a joint venture with Sunbury Generation LP to develop, finance, construct and operate the plant on an 18-acre parcel where Sunbury's coal-fired plant was recently retired. That facility previously generated 386 MW, according to parent Robindale Energy & Associated Cos.
Panda, which did provide a cost estimate for the new plant, said it would be one of the largest coal-to-natural gas conversion projects in the United States. Hummel Station is expected to provide power for more than one million homes in large power markets including Philadelphia and New York City.
Late last year, UGI Corp. began the permitting process to construct a 35-mile, 200,000 Dth/d pipeline to connect the facility to interstate pipelines, including Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC, (see Daily GPI, Dec. 22, 2014). Panda also received its air, water-use and land development permits from the state last year.
Panda is already constructing two 829 MW natural gas-fired power plants in Bradford and Lycoming counties in northeast Pennsylvania (see Daily GPI, May 16, 2014).
As coal continues to face stiff federal regulations and competitive pricing from soaring onshore gas production, more power generators are shifting to natural gas (see Daily GPI, March 20, 2014). Pennsylvania has already approved more than 10 such facilities (see Daily GPI, Nov. 3, 2014).
Hummel would be built along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Snyder County. The firm said it would use the "most advanced emissions control technology" to reduce key air emissions by 97% from what the retired coal-fired plant produced. The facility is also expected to create 500 jobs during construction and another 27 jobs to operate it.