PGE ponders clean energy, upcoming capacity deficit

Portland General Electric (PGE) (NYSE:POR) President and CEO Jim Piro said Oct. 28 that increased utilization of clean energy and addressing a “capacity deficit” of up to 850 MW are key issues for the Oregon utility in the next few years.

PGE is planning to stop burning coal at the 585-MW Boardman coal plant by 2020, Piro noted during a regular quarterly earnings call. While the company is experimenting with use of biomass at the Boardman plant, PGE could conceivable be facing a gap in energy capacity in the upcoming years.

The company is pursuing a 2016 integrated resource plan through the Oregon Public Utility Commission that includes planned requests for proposals (RFPs) for capacity in the next couple of years.

During the call, Piro and Senior Vice President of Finance Jim Lobdell would not be pinned down on too many details about the planned RFPs.

 “We are going to look at all types of option,” Piro said. When asked, the CEO acknowledged that everything from energy storage to a self-build option for a second unit at the Carty natural gas power plant will be considered.

“We spend a lot of time trying to educate our environmental groups,” on the need for firm capacity to back up increasing renewable power, Piro said. The CEO noted that there are some state lawmaker in Oregon who would dramatically like to expand the state’s clean energy requirements.

On other issues, the company had 94% plant availability during the past quarter.

August marked 50 straight months of job growth in Oregon. PGE service area unemployment was 4.9% in September and that was better than both state and national figures.

PGE reported net income of $34m, or 38 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2016,. This compares with net income of $36m, or 40 cents per diluted share, for 3Q 2015.

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