DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 11, 2001–Panda Energy International, Inc. announced today the development of a $400 million merchant electric power plant in West Point called the Panda Black Prairie Project. City officials stated the plant will add at least $2.9 million to the tax base, $1.2 million of which will be earmarked for the West Point Public School District.
Panda plans to build a 1,300-megawatt facility on a 170 acre tract of land at Eshman and Industrial Access Roads. Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2002. Approximately 500 jobs and an estimated payroll of $50 million will be created during the 18-month construction period.
West Point Mayor Kenny Dill commented on the tremendous benefit the project will bring to the community. “The tax dollars Panda generates will help us improve roads and infrastructure, and enable our school system to add programs and facilities that otherwise would not have been possible.”
When the plant goes into service in 2004, it will employ 45 people with over $2 million in annual payroll. Panda is committed to searching the local area for qualified employees before going outside the state.
“This is an excellent location for a power plant,” stated Garry Hubbard, Panda’s Senior Vice President of Development. “There is immediate access to electric transmission facilities and we are close to water and natural gas. This combination will play a key role in helping us meet the energy needs of the state. We are excited about adding the Black Prairie Project to the Panda family.”
Panda Energy International, Inc. was established in Dallas, Texas in 1982 as a privately owned developer of cogeneration projects. Panda designs, builds, owns and operates independent energy facilities. The company prides itself on maintaining plants that are efficient, economical and environmentally correct.
“Panda Energy’s primary focus is to be a low cost, environmentally sound provider of dependable power,” said Chris Sobol, Panda Manager of Business Development. “Power for the Panda Black Prairie Project will be generated from natural gas and steam. The plant will be equipped with advanced control systems to ensure compliance with the latest environmental regulations.”
With Panda’s announcement today that it plans to locate a plant in West Point, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Randy Hamblin is anticipating the positive economic impact it will have on the school system.
“I understand that Panda Energy has long been a supporter of public education in the communities in which they are located,” Hamblin said. “We are looking forward to having a good relationship with them here, as well. ”
Even more impressive is the estimated $1.2 million in tax revenue that, according to city officials, will go directly to the West Point School District. This will assure the school system’s ending fund balance is commensurate with the state department’s requirements. Many of the special programs the West Point School District implements are acquired through matching grants. The added revenue will assure that funds will be available to maintain those grants and perhaps seek more.
“The tax revenue from Panda will allow us to develop programs that otherwise might not have been implemented for a long time… if ever,” Hamblin continued. “We couldn’t be more excited! When schools benefit, the whole community benefits.”
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Panda Energy International, Inc. is a privately held, non-regulated electric generation company whose primary focus is the development, ownership and operation of state-of-the-art, environmentally clean, low cost power plants. The company currently operates plants in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and Brandywine, Md., and has plants under construction in China and Nepal. Panda is also the developer and a partner in four merchant plants presently being constructed in the United States. Panda Energy has more than 17,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity currently under advanced development — enough electricity to meet the requirements of seven million homes. Additional information on Panda Energy International, Inc. can be found at www.pandaenergy.com.