Portland General Electric advances three new power projects

Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) said in a Feb. 14 earnings statement that it is making progress with building three new generating resources, two of which are gas-fired with the other being a wind project.

“In 2013, we completed two RFP processes, which resulted in the selection of three new long-term generation resources that will deliver value to our customers, and achieved a fair outcome in the 2014 general rate case,” said Jim Piro, president and chief executive officer. “In 2014, we are focused on constructing the three new generation resources on time and on budget and continually emphasizing operational excellence.”

Construction is underway on all three projects selected last year through the competitive request for proposals (RFP) processes and each of these projects continue to be on time and on budget.

  • The majority of engines and generators are now on site for Port Westward Unit 2, a 220-MW natural gas-fired capacity resource. This plant is needed to help PGE integrate the variable output from wind and solar facilities and meet customer demand for power during peak events such as heat waves or cold fronts.
  • Foundations are being poured and roads are being built at Tucannon River Wind Farm, a 267-MW wind farm in southeastern Washington that will help PGE increase the amount of renewable power in its system and meet state renewable power standards.
  • Construction on the Carty Generating Station, a highly-efficient 440-MW natural gas-fired baseload plant, began in early January with ground clearing and site development.

With Tucannon River and Port Westward Unit 2 expected to begin serving customers in the first half of 2015, PGE has initiated a 10-month review and approval process with the Oregon Public Utility Commission in order to include these resources in prices when the plants go online. On Feb. 13, PGE filed a general rate case with a 2015 test year requesting an overall customer price increase of 4.6% effective early 2015. The rate case requests recovery of incremental costs to bring these two new plants into service and to provide safe, reliable and sustainable power to customers.

PGE expects the commission to issue a final order with approved price changes before the end of 2014, with new customer prices expected to be effective in three stages.

The utility said that during the fourth quarter of 2013, its Coyote Springs natural gas-fired generating plant was offline until Nov. 30, 2013, and the Colstrip Unit 4 coal-fired generating facility in Montana was offline until Jan. 23, 2014. As a result, the company replaced such power with purchased power, incurring $6m of incremental replacement power costs.

Portland General Electric is a vertically integrated electric utility that serves approximately 836,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Portland/Salem metropolitan area of Oregon.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.