Liberty for Panda

Panda Power Funds has acquired the proposed ‘Liberty’ power facility.

Panda Power Funds has taken ownership of a planned power plant in Pennsylvania “specifically developed to take advantage of its proximity to the Marcellus Shale gas formation”.

The 829-megawatt (MW) Liberty natural gas combined cycle project is located on a 33-acre site in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Dallas-headquartered Panda is putting up the equity for the project, with Goldman Sachs Group, Credit Suisse, mid-market lender Ares Capital and Union Bank arranging senior debt financing. Panda did not disclose the cost of the transaction.

Liberty is the first investment for Panda Fund II, which in August reached $215 million. Its predecessor, Panda Power Generation Infrastructure Fund, collected $420 million. In addition to Panda Power II, a “large institutional co-investor” that Panda declined to name is investing equity in Liberty.

The Pennsylvania project is the “fourth financing of a large-scale power facility” by Panda in the past year. In August, Panda invested in a 859MW combined cycle power plant in Maryland. The fund manager also acquired a 20MW solar farm in New Jersey.

Panda is also co-invested with the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) in a 1,516MW combined cycle power plant in Temple, Texas, as well as a 758MW combined-cycle project in Sherman, Texas.

Virginia-based energy infrastructure developer Moxie Energy constructed Liberty, a ‘clean’ project that will use air rather than water as a coolant, enabling the power plant to not draw water from or discharge water into the nearby Susquehanna River.

Panda said the project, expected to begin operation in 2016, will contribute $1.2 billion to the area economy. Moxie chief executive Aaron Samson called Panda a “good dance partner” for Liberty.

The Marcellus Shale is an untapped natural gas reserve located in the 'Appalachian Basin' stretching through Pennsylvania.