BPA will help fill a projected shortfall in PGE’s generating capacity

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Oregon-based Portland General Electric (PGE) reached a deal on two five-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) meant to fill a projected shortfall in PGE’s generating capacity.

Financial details of the move were not immediately available, but according to an announcement today, the agreements take effect January 2021.This is the year following PGE decommissioning its fossil fuel 550-MW Boardman Generating Station, Oregon’s final remaining operational coal-fired facility.

“These agreements are a great opportunity for us to collaborate with BPA to achieve shared goals in the region,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. “This benefits all parties, making the most of available clean, Northwest hydropower to serve PGE customers here in Oregon.”

“BPA will offer to sell PGE up to 200 MW of surplus hydropower generated from the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS),” said BPA in the announcement.

FCRPS comprises a series of hydropower projects in the Columbia Basin located on the mainstem Columbia River and in several of its major tributaries that provide about one-third of the electricity used in the Pacific Northwest, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Reclamation manages two facilities: the 6,089-MW Grand Coulee and 428-MW Hungry Horse dams; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages 12 facilities that are included in the FCRPS Biological Opinion.

BPA markets power generated from federal projects, but it also distributes power from federal and non-federal projects through its transmission system.

Sixteen percent of the electricity PGE generates comes from hydropower plants. The company wholly owns five hydro plants that have a total net capacity of 192 MW, and PGE jointly owns two hydro plants that have a total capacity of 303 MW.

BPA said the electricity it supplies to PGE will come primarily from federal hydro projects, but the power will not count toward Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

RPS programs have been adopted in 29 of 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

In 2016, significant RPS-related policy revisions took effect that have increased RPS targets in the District of Columbia and states including: Maryland, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island and Oregon.

Oregon’s RPS requires PGE to serve 50% of its customers’ demand for power from qualifying renewable generating resources by 2040.

Qualifying resources are generally facilities that began operating after 1995. Counting qualifying resources along with its wholly- and jointly-owned hydroelectric resources, PGE expects its energy mix to be at least 70% carbon free by 2040.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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