Texas firm joins natural gas power plant project
A Texas private-equity firm is the latest to join the proposed natural gas-fueled power plant project in Shamokin Dam, its involvement expected to add about 500 jobs to the region, the company announced Tuesday.
Panda Power Funds, of Dallas, has entered a joint venture with Sunbury Generation LP for what will replace the coal-fired plant there. In a statement, the firm said the Panda Hummel Station will be one of the largest coal-to-natural-gas conversion projects in the country.
The agreement will see the development, finance, construction and operation of a 1,000-megawatt combined-cycle Panda Hummel Station on 18 acres of a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone site in Snyder County.
The plant would be at the end of a 35-mile natural-gas pipeline from the Transco Pipeline in Lycoming County that would wind south through Valley counties to Shamokin Dam. A UGI Energy Services subsidiary would construct the pipeline and announced in December it won federal approval for the project’s initial steps.
About 500 jobs would be available for the 2 1/2-year construction period of the power plant. About 27 long-term jobs are expected to be needed to operate the facility and 45 indirect jobs within the community to support it.
Pipeline construction itself is expected to create about 300 jobs, with several permanent full-time spots needed to operate it.
Sunbury Generation President Dave Meehan said the company has been working on the Panda pairing for some time and is happy to announce the deal, calling Panda “a great partner” with more generating capacity under construction in this country than any other company. Panda has “a deep bench” and knowledge in the power industry, he said.
Panda Power has two other Marcellus gas-fueled generating stations under construction in Bradford and Lycoming counties, respectively, both expected to open in 2016.
According to the statement, the plant would “supply large power markets, including Philadelphia and New York,” when it begins to operate in 2017.