More Power for Texas
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More Power for Texas
Texas is host to a fast-growing population and economy – both demand ever more electricity. Panda Power Funds is a private equity company in Dallas that invests in power projects. They have chosen Siemens as a partner for a series of new combined cycle power plants in Texas and other US states.
More Power for Texas
The city of Temple is located next to the I-35 Interstate Highway that connects Dallas and Austin, two of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. Eighty percent of the business in Texas is made along this corridor. Energy consumption is high and rising, and on hot days when all air conditioners are on in the Lone Star State, the system used to be dangerously close to using the last of the reserves. The Carter family, who have founded and run Panda Power Funds, produce relief for the grid with highly efficient, environmentally friendly Siemens combined cycle power plants.
Todd Carter, President and senior partner of Panda Power Funds, and Bob Carter, his father and the CEO of the company, have chosen the location of these power plants for a number of reasons: “Those projects are strategically located in areas of constraint, where we get adequate gas and adequate transmission to distribute that power,” says Todd Carter.
Temple I, a power station using Siemens Flex-Plant™ technology, has recently gone online. With 758 megawatts it produces enough electricity to power approximately 750,000 homes. When the plant’s twin sister, Temple II, becomes operational in 2015, the production will double.
Panda Temple I and II utilize the latest, most advanced emissions-control technology. They employ the Siemens Flex-Plant™ technology with quick-start turbines, which can achieve 50 percent power production in 30 minutes and full base-load capacity in 60 minutes. The twin plants, managed from one common control room, are steered with the distributive Siemens SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control system.
“Our plants are some of the cleanest in the country, they take less gas to create the same kilowatt that other equipment does,” says Todd Carter. Bob, the veteran energy businessman, adds: “We have seen an emergence of Siemens and their technology in the last 15 years. They leapfrogged ahead of the competition. Today we see Siemens as being number one in manufacturing and engineering the equipment as an integrated solution.”
For Bob Carter, the industry has reached a tipping point. “The shale gas in this country has been the game changer. We now have a very clean fuel that is abundant and it’s relatively inexpensive,” he says.
The Carters see their investment as a logical development in the changing energy market that increasingly includes power from renewables. “Our plants are ideal dance partners for wind energy,” says Panda President Todd Carter. “They are engineered to be very responsive. So when the wind stops blowing, our plants can be up and running very quickly.”
On their ranch in Seymour, Texas, Bob Carter explains the philosophy behind the family business that he runs with his wife of over 50 years, Janice. “We want everything to be an investment. And we invest only in the best and cleanest technology. We took our business practices with our company Panda and incorporated them into this ranch. We see conservation as an investment. We’re improving the habitat for white-tailed deer and quail here. By protecting the environment we’re doing the things that are best for this country and this planet as well,” says Bob Carter.
As energy consumption will continue to increase in the years to come, efficient power generation will be a vital component of reliable, eco-friendly energy systems. When their operating efficiency is boosted, gas-fired combined cycle power plants will make a significant impact in reducing CO2 emissions. In the combined cycle process, exhaust heat from the gas turbine is used to generate steam, which then drives a steam turbine, generating additional electricity and increasing efficiency beyond 60 percent in our latest-generation plants.
The building blocks of a new, more sustainable energy system.