That was how one piece of equipment for the electric natural gas fired Panda Patriot arrived in Montgomery, PA. While the vast majority of parts were manufactured here in the US, the largest turbine was shipped from Germany. It arrived in NC via barge and delivered to a port in Albany, NY. There the turbine was placed on a special railcar with retro fitted wheels that were self-propelled to keep the 800,000 lb. piece of equipment moving over and through the hills and mountains of PA. But the biggest huddle was the last leg of transporting the turbine over the century old Montgomery Railroad Bridge made of stone. With a total estimated weight capacity of 1 million lbs. which included the railcars this well-traveled and worn bridge needed substantial improvements, paid by Panda, to support and erect the turbine in PA. A Panda representative informed the tour group facilitated by PIOGA, it was with bated breath as they watched the turbine slowly roll across the railroad bridge and finally delivered to the Copper’s facility within miles of the Patriot electric grid where it was then trucked to the Patriot location.
The Panda Patriot is a consolidated effort of Panda Power, Gemma Construction and Siemens technology. Located in Montgomery, Lycoming County, PA, the Patriot is an electric grid powered by natural gas. The Patriot is the first completed project in PA with two other Panda Power projects under construction in PA, Towanda and Hummels Wharf, and is positioned to come on line after testing is completed in June. The Panda Patriot Power Project is a clean natural gas-fueled, 829-megawatt combined-cycle generating station. When in full operation the plant is expected to supply the power needs of up to 1 million homes and is expected to make a significant contribution to the area’s economy. As these burner points such as the Patriot become active the long held stored natural gas should start to decrease and the commodity price of natural gas should ultimately slowly increase. But the power plants aren’t quite enough to substantially affect neither the stored natural gas nor the price. Many more burning points commonly referred to “downstream”, such as manufacturing, high commercial vehicle usage, and residential and commercial use is needed. Within the past few months some exporting has started, however, again, not enough to immediately affect the amount of gas stored or the price to see a quick uptick to drilling. Like all other successful ventures, we need to start somewhere and we have. It’s projects like Panda Power and companies such as Pepsi, FedEx, Waste Management and others that are slowly retooling their vehicles to natural gas and UGI that is laying new pipes for residential use that will start larger quantities of natural gas flowing which ultimately will spur the upstream activity nationally.
PIOGA is applauded for their efforts in continuing to education the public and reaching out to manufacturing, shipping, municipalities, economic developers and businesses to introduce the advantages and environmentally safe and rewards (reduced emissions) of using natural gas. PIOGA and all of us at the tour thank the Panda Power group for their warm hospitality in hosting this event which included a lunch, overview and tour of the Patriot project and the current projects in Towanda and Hummels Wharf.
Panda Fast Facts:
The Panda Patriot Generating Station Will:
- Plant expected to make a significant contribution to Central Pennsylvania
- Create approximately 500 construction jobs; 27 direct jobs to operate the plant and 45 indirect jobs to support the plant
- Utilize the latest, most advanced emissions-control technology, making it one of the cleanest natural gas-fueled power plants in the United States
- Use Siemens H-class gas turbines — the world’s first generation technology to achieve operating efficiencies of 60 percent.
- Be cooled with air rather than water — not drawing water from, or discharging water into, the Susquehanna River — eliminating potential impacts to sensitive species in the watershed
- Minimize sound using special blade designs, low-output motors and building enclosures