Texas’ Panda Temple combined cycle plant up and running

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Panda Power Funds dedicated its Panda Temple combined-cycle power plant at an inaugural celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony in Temple, Texas on Thursday. The installation is now completely operational and serving the Central Texas region.

Built on a 250-acre former sunflower field, the 758-MW facility is the first flex plant in Texas. As one of the cleanest natural gas-fired plants in the U.S. fleet, the facility operates at 57.5 percent overall efficiency and can synchronize to the grid in ten minutes, reach an emissions-compliant 60-percent baseload in 20 minutes, and arrive at full power in an hour.

The facility was delivered as a turnkey system in a project that brought together the efforts of EPC giant Bechtel and global OEM Siemens. Designed as a power island, all major components of the plant’s power block including turbines, boilers, and generators were supplied by Siemens, thereby providing for a composite installation that is highly integrated.

The plant relies on two Siemens (NYSE: SI) SGT6-5000F turbines with shaping power, followed by a newly-designed heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) which can utilize all but 185 degrees of the turbines’ waste heat to generate secondary energy completely emissions-free. Shaping power allows each turbine to increase overall production by 20 percent, effectively providing built-in peaking capacity that can be called upon during hot conditions or other high-demand times. When combined with newly-designed boiler technologies that allow the plant to start more quickly, these innovations make the plant highly responsive to grid demand and market opportunities.

Located in the Texas Triangle that includes Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, the Temple plant is well positioned to provide electricity to an area of the state that needs it badly. Speaking about the future of energy in Texas, Todd Carter, Senior Partner and President of Panda Power Funds said, “One thousand new residents move to Texas every day, and the grid must grow to accommodate them.” The Temple facility will provide enough energy to power 750,000 homes in a 60,000 square mile area, and contribute 1.6 billion dollars to the Central Texas economy.

Standing outside the plant looking up, Jacki Engel, marketing manager for Siemens’ 60 Hz product line said, “I’m very proud of this project.  I know you’re not supposed to think a power plant is beautiful, but I can’t help but see beauty in this facility’s clean functionality.”

An identical plant—Temple II—is now being constructed adjacent to the current facility.  When it becomes operational in 2015, it will double the plant’s capacity. 

 

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