Panda is the Latest Player in FL Generation Market
Panda Energy Intl. Inc. paved the way for its entrance into the
Florida generation market last week by announcing that petitions
for determination of need have been filed with the Florida Public
Service Commission to build two 1,000 MW power plants. Both plants
will cost $300 million and are expected to begin commercial
operation in May of 2003.
The company said it made the filings on behalf of two affiliate
companies -- Panda Leesburg Power Partners, LP, and Panda Midway
Power Partners, LP. The Leesburg facility will be located in Lake
County, west of the city of Leesburg. Panda Midway will be
northwest of the town of Port St. Lucie in St. Lucie County.
Panda said the facilities would employ high efficiency gas
turbines that use two-thirds less water and one-third less fuel
than traditional sources of generation. They will each burn 170
MMcf/d, said Peggy Striegel, a Panda spokesperson.
The new plants would be welcome additions to a rapidly growing
state in need of additional power, according to Panda. The Dallas,
TX-based company pointed to a 1999, 10-year site plan prepared by
the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council which showed that
Florida will need an additional 8,000 MW of electric power
generation capacity by 2008.
Studies such as the one performed by the Coordinating Council
have triggered a long list of power plants to be proposed. Just
last week, Reliant Energy announced its plans to build a power
facility in the state. Duke Energy and Coastal Corp. have become
active in exploring ways to exploit the expected boom in the
generation market. None of the proposed unregulated merchant
facilities have been built yet, however.
Along with the generation activity, gas pipeline projects are
also being considered. Coastal's Gulfstream project, a Duke Energy
and Williams joint venture called the Buccaneer Pipeline and
several Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) expansions are all at
various levels in the approval process at FERC.
Many of the generation facility projects, such as the Reliant
Energy plant and Panda's Leesburg plant, have yet to select a gas
supplier, as they wait to see which pipeline will be selected to
compete with FGT's existing system. The Panda Midway facility,
however, has already contracted with Coastal's Gulfstream.
If approved, these two plants would mark Panda's foray into
Florida. The privately held company has 10 GW of power under
development across the United States. Construction is under way on
three 1,000 MW facilities in Marion, Paris and Odessa, TX. The
company also operates plants in Roanoke Rapids, NC, and Brandywine,