Portland, Ore. – Portland General Electric Company (NYSE: POR) and Douglas County Public Utility District No. 1 are partnering to optimize the region’s resources in support of clean energy for customers. The two Northwest utilities have signed a five-year power purchase agreement to supply PGE customers with up to 160 megawatts of additional capacity from the 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.
“This partnership demonstrates the value of utilities collaborating to deliver clean energy solutions for customers and our region,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. “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 partnership helps pave a path for Oregon and the Northwest to make progress toward achieving their decarbonization goals while maintaining reliability with on-call hydro power when customers need it. In addition, it enables PGE to continue focusing on providing stable, reliable energy supplies without building new thermal power plants.
“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. The Wells Project can generate up to 840 megawatts of electricity, 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.
Beginning in January 2021 the five-year agreement is expected to contribute between 100 and 160 megawatts toward a roughly 250-megawatt power capacity need that PGE identified in its 2019 Integrated Resource Plan. The Oregon Public Utility Commission greenlighted the plan in March 2020.
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. Prior to reaching the agreement with Douglas County PUD, the company estimated these activities could result in approximately 600 megawatts 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 currently estimated at approximately 700 megawatts, but this will be refined as demand forecasts are updated, factoring in the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions and other developments.
Organized in 1936, Douglas County PUD began operations in 1945 as a non-profit, locally owned electric distribution system. From the beginning, delivery of a reliable supply of electric energy at the lowest possible cost has been our guiding principle. The Wells Hydroelectric Project has become the model for providing clean, efficient, reliable and renewable hydroelectric power in the Northwest. This project boasts the most effective juvenile fish by-pass on the Columbia River, and its operation funds several salmon and steelhead hatcheries.