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Sunbury Projects Show What Natural Gas Is Accomplishing


delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


The completion of a UGI pipeline project in Sunbury, Pennsylvania illustrates just how much natural gas is doing for Pennsylvania residents and consumers.

In December 2014 Pennsylvania utility company UGI pre-filed an application to build a new 35-mile, 20-inch pipeline to feed a natgas-powered electric generating plant being built in Snyder County, Pennsylvania. The project, called the Sunbury Pipeline, was estimated to cost $150 million–money that goes into the local economy. It took long enough, but in May 2016 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally approved the project. UGI broke ground on the project in August. Here it is December, and the Sunbury Pipeline is done and expected to go live in January. That’s just the beginning of the good news.


Hummel Power Station Project – Near Sunbury, Pennsylvania

The new Hummel Station natural gas fired electric plant is not yet done, and won’t be until 2018. So, why would the Sunbury Pipeline go live? Because it will not only feed Hummel, it will also supply UGI’s Central Penn system, a local gas utility that will now provide cheap, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas to residents and businesses in the region, according to StateImpactPA (emphasis added):

A new 20-inch pipeline designed to deliver Marcellus Shale gas to a power plant in central Pennsylvania is nearing completion.

UGI Energy Services’s $150 million Sunbury pipeline is expected to be in service early next month. The line begins in Lycoming County and runs 35 miles southward. It’s designed to feed the new Hummel Station power plant, which is under construction at the site of the former Sunbury coal plant in Shamokin Dam, Synder County. The power plant is expected to come online in early 2018.

“The pipeline is in place along its entire route,” says UGI spokesman Ken Robinson. “Thursday of last week, the pipeline underwent a standard procedure known as ‘purge and pack.’ During this process, the pipeline was purged of air, mostly oxygen, and packed with natural gas.”

UGI has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place the line into service January 1.

Although most of its gas is ultimately intended for the power plant, the Sunbury line will also supply UGI’s Central Penn system, which distributes gas to homes and businesses in the region.

Hummel Station is one of three new natural gas power plants being built in Pennsylvania by the Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm, Panda Power Funds. These projects are part of a broader, national trend away from coal, as natural gas takes up an increasing share of electric power generation.

Editor’s Note: This project is a win-win-win for Sunbury area residents and consumers. It supports local economic development (900 jobs during construction phase), it enhances the ability to service the Sunbury area with economical natural gas service and it lowers emissions involved in generating electricity to serve the region:

The Panda Hummel Station Power Plant is a 1,124MW natural gas fired, combined-cycle power plant proposed to replace the 400MW Sunbury coal fired power plant that was decommissioned in 2014 due to low natural gas prices and the introduction of strict environmental regulations by the US government.

Touted to be one of the biggest coal to natural gas conversion projects in the US, the project is being developed by the joint venture of Panda Power Funds and Sunbury Generation…

The output from the Pennsylvanian combined-cycle power plant will be sufficient to serve approximately one million homes, primarily within Philadelphia and the New York metropolitan area.

Compared to the retired coal fired power plant, the new plant will generate 180% more power, use approximately 97% lesser cooling water, and reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 90%.

It’s a remarkable demonstration of the positive benefits to all Pennsylvanians of the shale revolution – more power with less impact, plus economic development for all Pennsylvanians and clean, economical gas for businesses and homeowners to boot.

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