From the Sun Gazette

The Panda Patriot power plant is among a number of generating stations either in operation or being built to take advantage of the natural gas resources available in Pennsylvania.

The 829-megawatt combined cycle generating station featuring Siemens H-class gas turbines went into operation this summer.

NatGas plant uses air, not water, for cooling

Cooled by air rather than water, the plant neither draws nor discharges water into the nearby Susquehanna River.

The plant employs 27 full-time employees, half of whom are from the local area, according to Joe Lloyd, the plant’s general manager. They include 16 personnel employed in operations, seven in maintenance and four in support jobs.

“We picked the best talent that was in the area,” he said. Those people, he noted, were selected from some 200 job applicants.

Plant construction resulted in about 550 temporary jobs.

Panda is in the business of building power plants, including its Towanda-based Liberty plant, which recently went into operation.

But other companies are building generating stations utilizing natural gas as well, Lloyd noted.

“Competition keeps us on our toes,” he said.

Piping gas across 10 counties

Meanwhile, construction of the Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project is expected to get under way next year with a completion date set for 2018, according to Williams spokesman Mike Atchie.

The pipeline stretching across 10 counties of the state will carry natural gas to markets as far south as Alabama. The project is an expansion of the Transco system, which includes more than 10,000 miles of pipeline moving 10 percent of the nation’s natural gas across the U.S.

Joe Callis, lead security analyst, PJM Interconnection, noted how natural gas has become an increasingly bigger player in the energy market.

PJM, a regional transmission company for electricity, is a presence in 13 states of the East Coast and Midwest.

“Marcellus is a huge game changer for us,” he said.

Chamber President Vincent Matteo added that natural gas has meant a lot to economic development regionally and throughout the state.



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