by Malia Spencer Reporter- Pittsburgh Business Times
Panda Power Funds, a Dallas-based private equity firm, said this week it bought and has set up the financing to build a natural gas-fueled power plant in Pennsylvania. The plant, slated for Bradford County, is intended to tap the natural gas being produced in the commonwealth from activity in the Marcellus Shale formation. Originally planned by Moxie Energy LLC, the Liberty generating station is planned to produce 829 megawatts of power within the PJM Interconnection grid area. Construction is expected to start immediately and the project is expected to be completed in 2016. Once completed the plant is expected to power up to 1 million Pennsylvania homes, the company said.
In a written statement officials with Panda Power said this project was selected because of the opportunity within the PJM area, which is seeing coal-fired capacity taken offline. Earlier this summer FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) said it would shutdown two Southwestern Pennsylvania coal-fired plants. Panda Power Funds officials said they expect further coal retirements in the region. “I’m also very pleased we landed the Liberty project,” said Todd Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds, in a written statement. “After looking at a number of opportunities in PJM, we were impressed with the project and the caliber of work done by Moxie Energy.”
This is the fourth large-scale power project by Panda Power Funds in the last 13 months. It is the first investment out of Panda Fund II. In addition to the fund there are large institutional co-investors. The plant will be built by Gemma-Lane Liberty Partners, a joint venture between Gemma Power Systems and Lane Construction Corp. Siemens Energy Inc. is providing the gas turbines for the project, as well as two steam turbines, two generators, two heat recovery steam generators, and electrical equipment and control systems. The service agreement and order for these components is roughly $400 million, Siemens said in a statement.