Natural gas continues to be the fuel of choice for new power plant builds. Panda Power Funds' Affiliate Panda Temple Power LLC has successfully completed financing on its planned 758 MW gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant in Temple, TX.

Panda Temple Power planned to start construction on the 250-acre site and ramp up commercial operations by the end of 2014. The plant is to utilize the most advanced combustion turbine and emissions-control technology, which officials said would make it one of the most efficient natural gas-fueled power plants in the country.

"It has been an uphill battle, in a very difficult financial market, to get this project off the drawing board and out of the ground," said Panda Funds President Todd W. Carter. "Since the beginning, our team never lost sight that Texas needs the power."

Power generators are turning more to gas as a fuel source as regulations continue to tighten emission requirements. The coal industry took its lumps this past spring after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a set of proposed emissions rules targeting new power plant builds (see Daily GPI, March 28).

The proposed federal rules, which concern only new generating units, "reflect the ongoing trend in the power sector to build cleaner plants that take advantage of American-made technologies, including new, clean-burning, efficient natural gas generation, which is already the technology of choice for new and planned power plants," EPA said. "At the same time, the rule creates a path forward for new technologies to be deployed at future facilities that will allow companies to burn coal while emitting less carbon pollution."

Panda has selected a turn-key construction consortium of Bechtel and Siemens Energy Inc. to build the generation facility. The Temple Generating Station would be in the Synergy Industrial Park and once completed is expected to supply the power needs of approximately 750,000 homes in the Central and North Texas regions.

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