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Portland General Electric, Douglas County PUD sign five-year hydroelectric PPA

Good Wells NE side

Portland General Electric Company and Douglas County Public Utility District No. 1 have signed a five-year power purchase agreement to supply PGE customers with up to 160 MW of additional capacity from the 840-MW Wells Hydroelectric Project on the Columbia River north of Wenatchee, Wash.

The agreement also provides Douglas County PUD with PGE load management and wholesale market sales services.

PGE says the partnership helps pave a path for Oregon and the U.S. Pacific Northwest to make progress toward achieving decarbonization goals while maintaining reliability with on-call hydropower. In addition, it enables PGE to continue focusing on providing stable, reliable energy supplies without building new thermal power plants.

Beginning in January 2021, the five-year agreement is expected to contribute between 100 MW and 160 MW toward a roughly 250-MW power capacity need PGE identified in its 2019 Integrated Resource Plan. The Oregon Public Utility Commission greenlighted the plan in March 2020.

“This partnership demonstrates the value of utilities collaborating to deliver clean energy solutions for customers and our region,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and chief executive officer. “We are able to provide our portfolio management expertise as a fully integrated utility to Douglas County PUD while they are providing us access to additional emissions-free hydroelectric power.”

The Wells Project can generate substantially more power than is used in Douglas County. Revenues from wholesale power sales to other utilities support PUD operations and help keep electricity prices low for area residents and businesses.

“Douglas PUD is excited to expand our long-term partnership with PGE. This agreement creates efficiencies for a small utility like Douglas PUD while creating value for PGE, it’s a win-win,” said Gary Ivory, Douglas PUD general manager.

PGE also plans to issue one or more requests for proposals for new non-emitting resources over the course of the next year and to continue to pursue bilateral agreements for existing resources to focus on capacity needs in the 2025 timeframe. Before reaching the agreement with Douglas County PUD, the company estimated these activities could result in about 600 MW of additional capacity resources and up to 150 average megawatts of new renewable resources. PGE’s resource plan aims to support reliability and affordability while driving down greenhouse gas emissions by leveraging energy efficiency and customer programs, existing capacity in the Northwest, new technologies like energy storage, and cost savings afforded by federal tax credits for renewables.

The total amount of additional power PGE customers will require by 2025 is estimated at about 700 MW, but this will be refined as demand forecasts are updated, factoring in the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions and other developments.

PGE is a fully integrated energy company that serves 899,000 customers with a service area population of 1.9 million Oregonians in 51 cities. PGE has 16 generation plants in five Oregon counties.

Douglas County PUD is as a non-profit, locally owned electric distribution system.