Temple, Texas 758 MW natural gas plant expansion takes step forward

Panda Power Funds completed financing on a 758 MW expansion of its natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle power plant currently under construction in Temple, Texas.

When completed, the Temple I and II generating stations will have a combined capacity of 1,516 MW. The Temple II transaction is the third financing of a power plant by Panda Power Funds in eight months. The Temple I financing occurred in July 2012.

Panda Power Funds is supplying equity for the Temple II project along with several other institutional co-investors. Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse arranged the senior debt financing for the plant. Ares Capital was the documentation agent.

The Panda Temple II project has been sited along the I-35 corridor, about midway between San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth, 60 miles North of Austin. The Temple II facility is scheduled to enter commercial operation by the summer of 2015.

According to a study conducted by Impact Data Source of Austin, Texas, the construction of a 758 MW combined-cycle project, such as the Temple II facility, will contribute an estimated $1.6 billion to the area’s economy during construction and the natural gas-fired plant’s first 10 years of operation.

About 700-800 jobs will be created to construct the Temple II plant at peak construction. During operations, the combined generating stations will create 35 skilled jobs to operate the facilities and an estimated 90 indirect jobs within the community to support the plants.

Both plants will use recycled effluent for cooling purposes to help conserve the state’s water supply. In addition, the facilities will use quick-start turbines, which can deliver 50 percent power output within 10 minutes of startup and 100 percent power output within 30 minutes, making the plants suited for a state which has more intermittent wind energy than any other state in the country. Both stations will be supplied with natural gas from Texas producers.

Panda Power Funds selected a turn-key consortium of Bechtel and Siemens Energy to build the Temple II facility. As a part of the contract, Siemens will provide the power island package including the natural gas turbines, steam turbine, waste heat recovery boilers, and instrument and control systems. Bechtel will be responsible for the engineering and procurement for the balance of the plant, and the installation, construction and commissioning of the facility.

Founded in 2010, Panda Power Funds is a private equity firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, which has the ability to internally source and develop, acquire, invest in, and operate large-scale, natural gas-fueled power generation facilities. The firm has a combined-cycle power plant being built in two phases in Temple, Texas totaling 1,516 MW and a 758-MW combined-cycle power plant under construction in Sherman, Texas. The company recently built a utility-scale, 20-MW solar farm in Pilesgrove, N.J.

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