Panda Power unit plans natural gas-fired power plant in Maryland

By Barry Cassell, Chief News Analyst, GenerationHub

Mattawoman Energy LLC, a project affiliate of Panda Power Funds, applied July 19 at the Maryland Public Service Commission for approval of an 859-MW, gas-fired power project to be located about 12 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., in Prince George’s County, Md.

The company is seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for this project. It would be for a 2-on-1, gas-fired combined-cycle facility featuring two H-class combustion turbines and two duct-fired heat recovery steam generators.

Power from this facility, located about two miles from the existing Panda Brandywine Cogeneration Facility, would move to an existing 230-kV line running along Brandywine Road of Potomac Electric Power. For gas supply, the project would be tapped into the existing Dominion Cove Point gas pipeline.

The Panda website said the Panda Brandywine cogen is an oil- and gas-fired, 230-MW facility that began operations in 1995.

The Mattawoman project is needed to serve regional power needs, including the hole created by coal-fired capacity retirements, the company told the PSC. The company would like a commission approval by March 1, 2014, which would give it enough time to get the plant built and for it to provide power into PJM  Interconnection’s 2017-2018 Base Residual Auction.

SCRs, other systems to be used to control emissions

The CTs will use low-NOx combustion technology and will be equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to control NOx emissions. High-efficiency combustion design, with add-on oxidation catalyst, will be employed to control carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds emissions. The exclusive use of pipeline-quality natural gas will minimize particulate matter/particulate matter less than or equal to 10 micrometers, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid air emissions.

The two CTs will be Siemens (NYSE: SI) H-class machines, each capable of producing a nominal 273 MW of electricity. The maximum heat input of the duct burners will be 300 million British thermal units per hour higher heating value for each HRSG. The CTs will be equipped with evaporative inlet air cooling, which is designed to lower the CT intake air temperature during periods of higher ambient air temperatures. The CTs will be capable of operating between 50% and 100% load and will be fired exclusively with natural gas. The project is expected to operate at an overall 75% to 90% capacity.

Mattawoman Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Panda Power Funds. Panda Power Funds’ formation was sponsored by the leadership of Panda Energy International to develop and invest in natural gas power generation and solar energy projects. Panda Power Funds is a private equity firm comprising one of the nation’s most experienced, full-service power development teams, the application noted. The Panda team has developed, financed, constructed, and/or operated approximately 10,000 MW of natural gas-fueled generating capacity ranging from 180 MW to 2,250 MW in size.

Construction of the Mattawoman project will commence within 18 months of receipt of the CPCN and an air prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit. Construction will be completed in less than 36 months, and commercial operation will commence thereafter during the third quarter of 2017, the application noted.

Other gas-fired power projects in the works in Maryland

This isn't the only gas-fired power project currently seeking a CPCN from the Maryland commission. Old Dominion Electric Cooperative recently applied for its 1,000-MW Wildcat Point project in Cecil County, which is in far northeast Maryland, some distance away from Prince George's County.

The value proposition for the 1,000-MW Wildcat Point power plant is not diminished by other proposed generation projects in Maryland, such as the project proposed by Competitive Power Ventures in Charles County and the potential Keys Energy Center plant in Prince George’s County. “None of these proposed projects need be considered exclusive of the others,” said Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s Vice President of Power Supply, D. Richard (Rick) Beam. “Maryland imports approximately 40% of its energy (24,738 GWh), and all three projects could enhance the reliability and adequacy of Maryland’s power generation fleet.”

Beam was one of several officials from ODEC and a consulting company supplying July 1 testimony to the Maryland commission in support of the CPCN application for the Wildcat Point project.

Genesis Power proposes to construct and operate a new nominal 735-MW, two-on-one (2×1) combined-cycle, natural gas-fired plant in Prince George’s County. The Keys Energy Center project site is located north of North Keys Road and about 1.25 miles east of Brandywine, said the project website. Comparing maps on the Keys Energy Center website and in the Mattawoman Energy application, the Mattawoman project is located roughly two miles west of the Keys Energy Center site, with both of them near the intersection of North Keys Road and Brandywine Road.

Said the Keys project website: "Keys has requested electrical interconnection rights in the 500‑kV PJM transmission network for the new generation associated with the Project. The Project will increase electrical generation capacity within Maryland and the PJM transmission network by a nominal 735 MW using economical, fuel-efficient, state-of-the-art technology, while minimizing environmental impacts to the Site and surrounding area. The Project will be fired by natural gas only and will require a 16 inch nominal pipe size (NPS) natural gas pipeline extension that will originate in Charles County at a tie-in point to the existing 36‑inch NPS interstate gas pipeline located approximately 6 miles south of the Site just south of Poplar Hill Road owned by Dominion Transmission, Inc."

The Maryland PSC in April 2012 approved plans for Competitive Power Ventures to build a 661-MW combined-cycle, natural gas-fired power plant in Charles County, which is next door to Prince George's County.

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