Portland General Electric suspends permitting for new power plant sites

Portland General Electric Co. submitted a letter to the Oregon Department of Energy and another to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, asking for suspension of the utility’s request for amendment of the site certificate for the Carty Generating Station near Boardman, Ore. as well as a related air permit application.

The amendment and permit, if approved, would have allowed for the construction of two new generating units at Carty, if the units were selected as the least cost/lowest risk option in a future competitive bidding process for new generating resources.

PGE‘s request for the amendment was driven by the need to ensure that the company has a viable option to secure a cost-effective dispatchable generation resource to provide reliable service to customers.

“We’re currently in bilateral negotiations to acquire dispatchable resources to meet our customers’ energy needs,” said Jim Piro, PGE’s president and CEO. “It’s appropriate for us to suspend the permitting process at Carty until we complete these negotiations.”

If the company is able to secure capacity through bilateral negotiations PGE will seek approval of the agreements from the Oregon Public Utility Commission along with a waiver to competitive bidding guidelines as necessary. The company may also propose a competitive request for proposals to acquire any additional needed capacity resources not acquired through the bilateral negotiations.

In addition, PGE proposes to conduct an RFP to acquire about 175 average MW of new renewable resources (equivalent to a wind nameplate capacity of about 500 MW). Adding these new renewables now will allow PGE to capture the benefits of the federal production tax credit for customers – the credit is being eliminated by 2020 – and, when combined with existing wind, solar and hydroelectric facilities, will enable PGE to generate about 50 percent of its energy from carbon-free sources by 2020.

“PGE has maintained an extensive dialogue with our regulators, customers and many stakeholder groups throughout our current resource planning process,” Piro added. “We appreciate their input, and we’re working hard to identify cost effective options from existing generating resources in the region that could help us both back up our renewable resources and meet our customers’ peak energy needs.”

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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 Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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