Portland General Electric has filed a new integrated resource plan with the Oregon Public Utility Commission, building on its current plan but calling for no major new power plants in the near term beyond those the company now has under construction. Instead, the utility will work during the next several years to continue development of customer-side resources that can reduce demand through energy efficiency measures, manage peak demand periods, and improve overall system flexibility.

“Planning to meet our customers’ needs is a continuous process for PGE,” said Maria Pope, the company’s senior vice president for power supply and operations and resource strategy. “Our current resource plan identified a need for new generating resources as the right option to serve customers with the best balance of cost and risk. The new resource plan will continue our commitment to energy efficiency and customer-side measures that were also part of the last plan.”

The new IRP calls for PGE to continue to work with customers, through the Energy Trust of Oregon, to implement energy efficiency measures capable of achieving approximately 124 average megawatts of additional energy demand reductions by 2017. The plan also calls for an additional 25MW of demand response and an additional 23MW of dispatchable standby generation. For demand response, PGE works with customers through programs that reduce demand during peak periods. In its dispatchable standby generation program, PGE reaches agreements with commercial and industrial customers to integrate their independent standby generators into PGE’s system, making them available to help meet peak needs and enhance system reliability.

In addition, the new plan calls for several studies to help inform the next planning cycle. In its next resource plan, PGE will need to make decisions about the best mix of resources to achieve the next phase of Oregon’s renewable energy standard, under which the company must meet 20% of customer demand from qualifying renewable resources by 2020. The utility will also need to find replacement resources for the generating capacity lost when the Boardman Power Plant ceases using coal at the end of 2020.

The studies, identified with the help of customer and environmental advocates as well as other stakeholder groups, include review of:

  • PGE’s load forecast methodologies;
  • Emerging energy efficiency technologies;
  • Potential business models for development of distributed solar generation;
  • Potential conversion of the Boardman Power Plant to run on biomass (an ongoing study);
  • Generation, operational and market-based solutions to address PGE’s dynamic capacity needs;
  • New analytical tools to optimize the joint use of flexible and variable generating resources; and
  • Longer-term natural gas supply options to protect customers against price volatility.

Under OPUC rules, investor-owned utilities like PGE are required to file new resource plans periodically and seek acknowledgement of those plans from the commission. The new plan includes an “action plan” detailing resource actions through 2017 and a 20-year planning horizon forecasting general resource needs through 2033. The plan is available online at PortlandGeneral.com/IRP.