The first two natural gas-fired power plants designed and proposed to utilize Marcellus Shale gas have been completed and turned over to the project developer Panda Power Funds LP for commercial operations.

The engineering and construction firm, Gemma Power Systems LLC, said this month that the 829 MW Liberty generating station in Bradford County, PA, was completed on April 30, while the 829 MW Patriot generating station in Lycoming County, PA, was finished earlier this month. Combined, the facilities will generate enough electricity to power more than two million homes, Gemma said. The company built the facilities for Panda through a joint venture with the Lane Construction Corp.

The Liberty facility is located in Asylum Township on a 33-acre site. The plant received its air quality permit from the state in October 2012, which was later revised in July 2013. The Patriot facility is located in Clinton Township on an 85-acre site, and it received an air quality permit in August 2013. Ground was broken on both facilities in 2014 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 13, 2014; May 16, 2014). At the time, Panda said both facilities would enter commercial operation sometime in 2016.

The facilities are the first in the U.S. to use state-of-the-art Siemens’ H-class turbines. The single-shaft power train, Gemma said, makes them “among the most flexible and most efficient natural gas-fired generating plants in the United States.”

Completion of the facilities marks another milestone for development of the Marcellus Shale. Since 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Program has issued plan approvals for more than two dozen natural gas-fired power plants (see Daily GPI, May 13). Several more applications are currently under review.