Pillar 2: Environmental Footprint

We’re passionate about protecting the environment

2016 Report

Pillar 2 - Environmental Footprint
Maria Pope

“We’re passionate about protecting the environment. We strive to consider the impact our work has on local ecosystems and work collaboratively to preserve clean water, fresh air, biodiversity and the natural beauty of Oregon.”

Maria Pope, PGE President

Story 1

Delivering on Oregon’s clean electricity plan

Woven into the DNA of most Oregonians is the desire for a clean, sustainable and green future. It was that desire that propelled the Oregon Clean Electricity Plan, Senate Bill 1547, through the Oregon legislature in 2016.

The Oregon Clean Electricity Plan calls for a significant increase in the amount of renewable power in our generation mix in a relatively short amount of time. While some companies might view this as too large a challenge - to deliver, reliable, affordable and greener power - we saw it as an opportunity. After all, we are Oregonians too and also want a cleaner energy future.

We partnered with other electric utilities, environmental groups, clean energy partners and consumer advocates to help get this bill passed. “We saw this as an opportunity to work in tandem with groups on legislation that would help PGE and Oregon lead the nation in the quest for a cleaner energy future” said Dave Robertson, Vice President, Public Policy and Resiliency.

Today, we’re on schedule. Our 2016 mix had 40 percent coming from eligible renewable resources and other resources like hydro that also avoid greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, our one remaining coal plant in Oregon will cease coal-fired operations, 20 years ahead of end of life. And, by 2040, 70 percent of our mix will come from clean energy.

Together, we can meet and exceed the Oregon Clean Electricity Plan goals and make Oregon a clean energy leader.

Story 2

Working together for the Deschutes

The health of the Deschutes River affects the health of fish and wildlife. But it also has a ripple effect on Native American tribes and the community. PGE and The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon are partners in preserving the long-term health of the river.

We’ve worked together for decades to co-manage the Pelton Round Butte hydropower project on the Deschutes River and since 2004 we have also co-owned the project. The project provides a clean energy source for more than 150,000 homes. It also comes with an important responsibility: to help restore and protect the Deschutes.

To do that, we are focused on the health of the river and the health of the fish.

Health of the river

Our biologists and researchers monitor multiple sites on the river, year-round, measuring changes. This helps us understand the health of the Deschutes and how factors such as rainfall snowpack, and hot summers, affect the water quality over time. With that data, in collaboration with fish and wildlife agencies, water quality regulators, environmental groups and other stakeholders, we can continue to plan for long-term river health.

Health of the fish

Though the success of this work will fully reveal itself over the next few decades, early results are promising:

  • For the first time in more than 50 years, adult salmon and steelhead are now making it upstream to spawn above the dams, swimming more than 200 miles to complete their natural life cycle.
  • The number of sockeye returning to their native spawning grounds above the dams has increased dramatically, including more than 450 in 2016.
  • The lower Deschutes saw continued strong fall Chinook runs — which have more than doubled since the Selective Water Withdrawal tower was installed.
  • Water released below the dams now more closely matches pre-dam seasonal temperature patterns, supporting healthy salmon and redband trout populations.

To learn more about this important work and our partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, Oregon Water Resources Department, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service and more, visit our Deschutes River page.

What's next?

Decarbonization Study

PGE is conducting a study of how to achieve deep reductions in carbon emissions in our service area, both for electricity and for the other ways that our customers meet their energy needs.

This study will help PGE support the clean and renewable goals of the City of Portland, Multnomah County, as well as our other customers interested in a clean and renewable future. It will also improve our understanding of the carbon implications of new technologies, like electric vehicles, and will help us to plan our system with an eye to the future.

#WeAreStillIn

While the U.S. federal government committed to pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord in 2017, we are still in and will continue to do our part to decrease our carbon emissions in order to slow the effects of climate change.

To do this, we are actively working to meet and exceed Oregon’s clean energy plan, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, helping to develop electric vehicle infrastructure and more.

For more information, check out the Environmental Footprint section of our Key Metrics Summary.