Boardman 2020 plan approved by regulators
By Erik Siemers, Business Journal Staff Writer
Business Journal Staff Writer
Portland General Electric wants to shut its plant near Boardman by 2020.
Oregon's environmental regulators on Thursday approved a plan that will allow Portland General Electric to close its coal-fired power plant near Boardman in 2020.
The 5-0 vote by the state Environmental Quality Commission puts the Portland-based electric utility (NYSE: POR) one step closer to closing the 585-megawatt plant, considered the state's largest stationary source of air pollution and carbon emissions.
Under the plan, PGE will invest an estimated $60 million in emissions control technology in advance of closing the plant, of which PGE owns 65 percent, to put it in compliance with federal air quality standards.
It also cements PGE's commitment to close the facility by Dec. 31, 2020.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recommended approval of the plan last week.
The final proposal was offered by PGE in October and followed several variations forwarded in the past year, which ranged from closing the plant in 2015 or 2040 with an investment range that reached as high as $500 million.
"The bottom line is we've had a number of proposals on the table," said Bill Blosser, chairman of the Environmental Quality Commission. "(PGE) came up with a proposal that meet their needs and met all the legal requirements. It was hard not to accept."
PGE will set about installing emissions controls equipment that is projected to reduce the plant's nitrous oxide emissions by 50 percent and permitted levels of sulfur dioxide by 75 percent. A separate set of rules will require controls that reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent.
Combined, PGE estimates it will invest about $60 million in the plant. Earlier estimates put the cost between $60 million and $90 million, but PGE spokesman Steve Corson said the new rules eliminated the need for some equipment, shaving the cost by about $12 million.
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