Portland General Electric has suspended plans to permit two new natural gas-powered facilities. The utility sent a letter Friday afternoon to the Oregon Department of Energy and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.
The natural gas facilities were proposed to replace the utility’s coal-fired plant in Boardman, Oregon, which it plans to shut down by 2020. PGE says it changed course after listening to stakeholders and is now in bilateral negotiations to contract with existing resources and facilities.
“The intent is to see what existing resources there are and see if we can tap into those,” said Steve Corson, spokesman for Portland General Electric. “We have gone out and looked into the market to see what’s available in terms of existing power plants that might have capacity that they could sell to us, or potentially even actually sell plants to us.”
Before suspending the permit, environmentalists had criticized the plan and urged the utility to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy instead.
PGE is in the process of developing its five-year plan for providing electricity to the Portland metro area. Corson hopes to have more information within the next couple of months on whether the utility can move forward on potential contracts or acquisitions.