Setting a roadmap for one of the largest coal-to-natural gas conversion projects in the U.S., Panda Power Funds has decided to finance Panda “Hummel Station” power plant.
The new 1,1 24 MW will replace the retired Sunbury coal-fired power plant near Shamokin Dam in Snyder County, Pennsylvania. The 65-year-old 400 MW plant was shut down in 2014 in response to strict implementation of environmental regulations proposed by the Obama administration and falling prices of the natural gas.
The new power plant is expected to enter commercial operations in the first quarter of 2018. Once started, the plant will supply energy to large power markets, including metropolitan areas of New York and Philadelphia.
According to the press release, the plant will be fueled by Marcellus Shale gas. This move is expected to provide a significant operating cost advantage to the plant.
“The natural gas revolution has arrived in the heart of coal country,” said Todd W. Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds, in a press statement. “I’m proud Panda is leading the way toward clean natural gas-fueled generation. We’re ready to take what we’ve learned in Pennsylvania and apply it to other coal-fired projects across the nation.”
The construction of the power plant is expected to bring a number of economic and environmental benefits to the region, in addition to the creation of a pool of jobs. It is estimated that around 900 people will be required to construct the plant over a period of 2.5 years. Once constructed, 35 long-term direct positions will require people to manage and run the station and 55 indirect jobs for people to support the plant.
Latest state-of-the-art emission-control technology will make the plant one of the cleanest natural gas-fueled power plants in the U.S. The implementation of the latest technology is expected to bring down SO2 and NOX emissions by almost 90 percent. The plant is also expected to use 97 percent less water for cooling purposes as compared to a coal plant.