State and local officials celebrated the commissioning Thursday of what’s been dubbed the first “Marcellus Shale” power plant.
The Liberty Power Plant in Bradford County is one of three natural gas plants being built in Pennsylvania by Panda Power Funds, a private equity firm based in Dallas, Texas. The company plans to commission its sister plant, the Patriot, in Lycoming County November 16. Both 829 megawatt plants came online in July and can provide enough power for up to 1 million homes.
“Both plants were specifically put where they are because of the proximity to the Marcellus Shale,” says Panda Power Funds spokesman Bill Pentak.
“It’s a great way to take our gas and make it value-added and send electricity out of our county,” says Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko (R). “It’s terrific.”
The third project is the 1,124 megawatt Hummel Station plant, in Sunbury, Northumberland County. It involves re-purposing an old coal-fired plant, and is part of a broader shift, as the nation’s power grid moves away from coal, toward more natural gas and renewable energy.
“That’s about 20 percent complete,” says Pentak, who expects Hummel Station to come online in the first quarter of 2018. ”It’s one of the largest coal-to natural gas power replacement projects in the U.S.”
UGI Energy Services is currently constructing the Sunbury Pipeline, a 20-inch line that will travel 35 miles from Lycoming County to feed Marcellus Shale gas into the Hummel Station plant.