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Panda Power commissions Marcellus Shale gas plant

The 829MW Liberty generating station is the first to burn natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

Panda Power Funds, a private equity firm based in Dallas, has commissioned an 829MW natural gas plant in Pennsylvania that is the first to take advantage of reserves in the Marcellus Shale.

The Liberty station is a combined-cycle generating facility in Bradford County that burns gas from the Marcellus Shale, a region spanning the US northeast that holds vast amounts of natural gas deposits. Panda Power said its newest natural gas station is part of a national trend away from coal as an energy source, adding the Liberty facility will use emissions-control technology to make generation cleaner.

“Bradford County isn't just supplying natural gas, or electricity, to the marketplace – but energy security to the nation,” Panda Power chief executive Todd Carter said in a statement.

Through its first investment from Panda Fund II, Panda Power provided equity for the project, along with an undisclosed institutional co-investor. Lenders including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Ares Capital, MUFG Union Bank and Investec arranged senior debt financing for the plant. Gemma-Lane Liberty Partners served as the procurement contractor, and Siemens Energy provided equipment.

Construction on the Liberty project began in 2013. Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Panda Power also operates the 829MW Patriot facility, a sister to Liberty, and the 1,124MW Hummel Station, a natural gas station converted from a coal plant.

Panda Power launched in 2010 and now has five combined-cycle power plants in Texas and Pennsylvania. It is currently building two combined-cycle plants Pennsylvania and Virginia.