Portland General Electric largely completes Port Westward 2 gas facility

Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) announced Jan. 2 that its Port Westward Unit 2, a 220-MW natural gas-fired plant located near Clatskanie, Oregon, went into service on Dec. 30, 2014.

“With the growing amount of variable renewable power coming online, this type of flexible resource is essential in helping us continue to provide reliable service to our customers in an increasingly complex environment,” said Jim Piro, PGE president and CEO.

The plant is comprised of 12 reciprocating engines supplied by Wärtsilä North America that are designed to be highly efficient, flexible and responsive. The 25,000-horsepower 50SG engines are the first of their size in the country to run entirely on natural gas.

“Port Westward Unit 2’s advanced technology and unique configuration allows PGE to ramp up the plant to full load in less than 10 minutes,” said Rick Tetzloff, PGE’s project manager for Port Westward Unit 2. “This flexibility allows us to adjust quickly when renewable energy — like wind and solar — rise and fall with natural variability. And it also means that on peak demand days, our customers benefit from increased reliability.”

Port Westward Unit 2 serves as an important component of the company’s diversified portfolio of energy resources, complementing the new 267-MW Tucannon River Wind Farm brought online on Dec. 15, 2014.

The new plant is adjacent to PGE’s existing natural gas-fired Port Westward and Beaver plants in Columbia County, Ore. The plant was completed ahead of schedule and on budget under fixed-price contracts, with final construction costs expected to be approximately $300m, excluding AFDC.

Black & Veatch and Oregon-based Harder Mechanical Contractors, in a contractual joint venture, managed the design and construction of the project. Eleven of the plant’s 12 engines have successfully completed all required performance and functional testing. The 12th engine is undergoing final testing before being placed in service.

Completion of Port Westward Unit 2 is a significant milestone in the implementation of PGE’s 2009 Integrated Resource Plan. The plan was acknowledged by the Oregon Public Utility Commission in November 2010. Port Westward Unit 2 was PGE’s benchmark proposal in a competitive bidding process conducted under guidelines established by the Oregon commission, using objective scoring criteria intended to identify projects that provide the best balance of cost and risk while meeting PGE customers’ needs for reliable, affordable electric power.

Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves more than 843,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. In 2014, PGE celebrated 125 years of powering 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.