PGE plans to switch fuels at coal fired power plant

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Portland, Ore., January 15, 2010 – Portland General Electric Company told the Oregon Public Utility Commission that it intends to pursue a plan for the utility’s Boardman Power Plant that would either close the plant in 2020 or discontinue the use of coal as a fuel source.

“Our preliminary analysis shows that an alternative plan may be the best option for our customers, and we intend to pursue that,” said Jim Piro, President and CEO. “We need to complete our analysis and determine whether we have enough support to move forward, but we feel it’s important to let people know that this is our preferred path.”

PGE submitted its most recent integrated resource plan to the OPUC on Nov. 5, 2009. In that plan the utility recommended installation of extensive emissions control retrofits on the Boardman Plant, at an estimated cost of $520 million to $560 million.

These controls would allow continued operation of the plant in compliance with new rules from the state Environmental Quality Commission.

The company chose not to include a proposal in its plan to cease Boardman operations in 2020 because such a plan would not be actionable under environmental quality rules; however, further discussion with environmental regulators and other stakeholders suggests that there may be support for a rule change.

“Right now state regulations give us very few options – either shut the plant prematurely at a tremendous cost to customers or install very expensive new controls despite uncertainty about future carbon regulation and technological developments,” Piro said. “We think an alternative plan could reduce cost and risk for our customers while giving us time to develop replacement resources or convert to a different fuel, but we’ll need changes in state rules and help from our stakeholders to accomplish that.”

Piro noted that if agreement on an alternative plan can’t be reached, PGE will continue to seek approval for installation of all required emissions controls and continued operation of the plant – the best option available to customers under current state rules.

PGE intends to work with the OPUC to establish a new schedule for review of resource planning decisions regarding the Boardman Plant.


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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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