by Staff Writers
Dallas TX (SPX) Sep 12, 2012
Panda Power Funds was joined by officials from across the state to break ground on the company's 758-megawatt natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle power plant in Temple, Texas. When complete, the facility will provide much needed electricity for approximately 750,000 homes in the Central Texas area. "The Panda Temple Generating Station is one of the largest industrial projects announced in Texas this year" said Todd Carter, president of Panda Power Funds.
"Today, we break ground for Texas - to provide our state with the power it needs for future growth and economic vitality; for our Panda team - who never gave up in spite of the national recession and its many setbacks; and for our investors - who have made this day possible."
Plant Seen as Important Step Forward
The Panda project represents the first time in six years that institutional investors have financed a capital intensive construction project in the United States with a term loan. Morgan Stanley and Ares Capital arranged the senior debt financing for the Temple plant.
The Temple plant is also seen as an important step forward for the State of Texas which is in need of additional power. During the summer of 2011, the state endured record heat, forcing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state's grid operator, to declare six power emergencies.
ERCOT's latest forecast shows reserves declining to 9.8% in 2014 and 6.9% in 2015 - below the 13.75% reserve requirement necessary for grid reliability. The plant is scheduled to enter commercial operation by the end of 2014.
Uniquely Designed for the ERCOT Market
As a result, Texas' electrical grid has been subject to increased volatility in recent years as wind power can suddenly drop offline when the wind stops blowing. A natural gas power plant must then step in to quickly make up for the lost power.
To meet this need, Panda designed the Temple generating station as a quick-start power plant. Power generation is expected to commence within 10 minutes of startup, reaching full gas turbine power production within approximately 30 minutes.
By closing the generating gap caused by intermittent renewable energy, the Panda Temple plant is able to help support both the integrity of the state's electric grid and the development of additional renewable generation in Texas. The quick-start gas turbines will reduce total startup emissions as well.
Accordingly, the state-of-the-art Panda Temple plant will utilize the latest, most advanced emissions-control technology, making it one of the cleanest, most efficient natural gas-fueled power plants in the nation. Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions will be controlled to less than 10 parts-per-million, and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions to less than 2.0 ppm - among the lowest of any natural gas power plant in the United States.
Additionally, the plant has been designed with gas turbines which operate at a higher power output during high temperature conditions. This capability is ideal for the ERCOT market as Texas' recent hot summers have put an increased strain on the state's power grid, which is already stressed with the fastest growing population in the country.
"Our growing state needs the power that will be provided by this plant," said U.S. Representative John Carter, representing the 31st district of Texas.
"Future industries looking to relocate to Texas need to know they will have a reliable supply of clean electricity to power their factories and places of business. Using abundant, 100% Texas-produced, natural gas to power this plant will also help support the security of the United States at a time when our nation is too dependent on foreign sources of energy."
The Panda Temple generation facility will be built by a turn-key construction consortium of Bechtel and Siemens Energy Inc. Bechtel is the largest construction and engineering company in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Siemens is one of the world's largest suppliers of turbine technology.
As a part of the construction contract, Siemens will provide the power island package including the natural gas turbines, steam turbine and waste heat recovery boilers. Bechtel will be responsible for the engineering and procurement for the balance of the plant, and the installation, construction and commissioning of the facility.
Significant Economic Impact
An estimated 700-800 personnel will be employed to construct the plant at peak construction. During operations, the generating station will create an estimated 25 skilled jobs to operate the facility and 45 indirect jobs within the community to support the plant.
The plant will be located at the Synergy Industrial Park in South Temple. The turbines and generators will be manufactured at Siemens' factory in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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France aims at tiered energy pricing to encourage savings
Paris (AFP) Sept 9, 2012
France's new Socialist government unveiled plans this past week to introduce a tiered energy pricing system to encourage people to reduce their use of electricity, gas and heat. With EU nations trying to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, France unveiled a system that would see those who waste energy forced to pay higher prices, following in the steps of Japan and the ... read more
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