Portland General Electric is seeking regulatory approval to add up to 860 MW of gas-fired generation and 50 MW of solar power to its Carty plant in Boardman, Oregon, the Portland Business Journal reports.
The gas-fired portion of the plant would need approval from the state’s Public Utility Commission, but the solar portion would only have to show it is cost competitive with other, similar projects.
- The 440 MW Carty gas-fired Carty plant entered service in July after financial problems delayed its operation at the end of 2015.
In March, Oregon passed legislation mandating a 50% by 2040 renewable portfolio standard. The legislation also calls for the state’s two largest utilities to stop using coal-fired generation – including power imports – by 2035.
Coal-fired generation now supplies about 33.6% of Oregon’s electricity. Hydro power supplies 42.8% and gas-fired generation supplies 13.5%. Wind power supplies 5.6% of Oregon’s energy, but other forms of renewable energy are all under 1%. The state has about 129 MW of solar power installed to date.
If Portland General is successful in its request to expand the Carty plant, it would not only bolster its supplies of non-coal thermal generation, it would add significantly to the state’s solar power capacity. And the additional flexible gas generation could help integrate more renewable resources.
The Carty plant came online in July, but only after Portland General took control of construction of the project. In December, the utility declared the contractor, Abeinsa, in default of their construction agreement and removed them from the project. Abeinsa is a subsidiary of Abengoa, which is in bankruptcy.
Portland General is now engaged in a legal battle with its insurer to recover $145 million related to the project.