Sherman Power Plant Project Moves Forward - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Sherman Power Plant Project Moves Forward

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SHERMAN, TX -- Plans for a new power plant are moving forward as the company building the plant says they are ready to start construction.

Panda Power Funds, the Dallas-based startup company behind the project, says they have gotten the financing they need for the plant, and initial site work is already underway.

"They've got about 100 people out there right now working on construction," says Scott Connell of Sherman Economic Development Corp. "This allows them to move forward, so by next summer we estimate 600 to 700 people out there working in various construction trades."

Panda Power Funds says that working with two banks, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, that they now have the money they need to move forward on the $350 million gas-fired plant on Progress Drive near F.M. 1417 and the Tyson plant.

"It's one of those weird things, that we need power in Texas with our growth, but it's also hard to get the financing to be able to put it together, so it's a very big step," Connell says.

"We've been working with Panda for several years now in this project, so we're really glad that they're coming," says Sherman assistant city manager Robby Hefton. "The direct impact to the city of Sherman is going to be millions of dollars in revenue over the next few years, as they come and ramp up production."

For the past few months, the trucks have been coming through and work has been underway on the soil preparation for the site. Officials estimate that the entire plant will be done by the end of 2014.

When finished, the plant is set to have 25 employees, and sell enough electricity into the Texas grid to power 750,000 homes. It will use an estimated 4 million gallons of water per day.

Officials say that even with 10 years of tax breaks, and a $4 million dollar incentive payment, the plant will still put into the economy by providing several hundred thousand dollars a year in property taxes.

"They're going to be a major water customer as well as a major payer of property taxes, so we're glad about that all the way around," says Hefton.

The plant will operate on a very lean basis, and the peak job impact will be the hundreds of construction workers hired to build the plant over the next two years. The jobs are available through contractor Bechtel, which along with Siemens Energy is working with Panda Power Funds on the plant, and more information on the jobs will be posted on Panda's website.