PGE seeks to eliminate Boardman 2040 option
By Erik Siemers, Business Journal Staff Writer
Business Journal Staff Writer
Portland General Electric Co. has taken an initial step toward eliminating the option of keeping its coal-fired power plant near Boardman open until 2040.
The action might seem moot since the Portland-based electric utility is already seeking regulatory approval to close the plant in 2020. But it's an important step in the eyes of groups that wanted the 2040 option eliminated as a potential safety net for the company.
The request is part of an agreement reached between PGE and a collection of organizations — primarily the Oregon Environmental Council, Renewable Northwest Project, the Citizens Utility Board and the Northwest Energy Coalition.
The agreement also includes assurances that PGE will work with the groups to consider non-fossil fuel-based replacement energy sources when Boardman closes.
"We think it's really important to close the plant early and think about this transition to lower carbon replacement power," said Jana Gastellum, climate change program director at the Oregon Environmental Council.
PGE in August submitted plans that call for shutting down Boardman — the state's largest stationary source of haze-causing emissions — in 2020 after investing around $100 million in new emissions controls.
The plant is authorized to operate through 2040, and PGE has said it would likely keep the plant running through that date should its 2020 plans get rejected.
"Our point is that the 2020 plan needs to be fully approved," said PGE spokesman Steve Corson. "We need to be confident that we can implement that plan."
The state Department of Environmental Quality held a month-long comment period on the Boardman closure options that ended Oct. 1, but the department reopened the comment period Friday.
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