PGE cites progress on Port Westward 2, renewables

Portland General Electric (PGE)(NYSE:POR) will break ground in May on its 220-MW Port Westward 2 gas-fired power plant in Oregon and should announce the winners of various solicitations mid-year, company officials said during a quarterly earnings call May 1.

“We’re making excellent progress on our strategic initiatives in 2013, including starting construction on Port Westward 2 and working through the negotiations for selecting the energy, renewable, and seasonal capacity resources from our request for proposals process,” said PGE President and CEO Jim Piro.

The in-service date for the roughly $300m Port Westward 2 facility is currently set for the first quarter of 2015.

PGE is continuing negotiations with top performing bidders for energy and renewable resources. The final short lists include a mix of power purchase agreements and PGE-ownership options. Final selections are expected by mid-2013. In addition, PGE is in the process of negotiating power purchase agreements for seasonal peaking capacity.

The RFPS passed muster with a third-party evaluator for the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the company said. The online date for the renewables being secured through RFP is 2014 through 2017.

As for the existing fleet, it experienced a good quarter. Average duration and frequency of outages was in the top quarter of the industry, officials said. Q113 generating plant availability was 97%.

Hydro power generation decreased during the quarter.

 A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Bonneville Power Administration in January for the Cascade Crossing transmission project. The 500-kV wires project would span roughly 120 miles. The full project scope as described in the MOU is expected to cost at least $800m.

The company reported net income of $49m, or 65 cents per share, for 1Q 13. Net income and earnings per share were unchanged from 1Q 12 as lower power costs and decreased storm restoration costs offset a decline in retail energy deliveries.

Purchased power and fuel expense decreased $3m, or 2% to $192m in 1Q 13 from $195m in 1Q12, largely due to a 2% decrease in the average variable power cost, with total system load comparable to the first quarter of 2012. The decrease is primarily due to more generation from lower-cost coal-fired resources, partially offset by an increase in the average cost of purchased power and a decrease in energy received from hydro resources.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at