How We Generate Electricity

A diverse mix for a dependable future

Where Your Electricity Comes From

Based on Sources of Electricity 2014 report. This chart does not reflect PGE’s use, generation or disposition of renewable energy certificates.


PGE generates electricity from plants we own, and purchases power on the wholesale market to assure we serve customers with the lowest-cost resources available at any given time. We operate wholly and jointly owned hydroelectric, natural gas, coal, wind and solar generating plants.

We also own transmission lines, which as part of the regional power grid allow us to move the lowest-cost electricity in real time from where it’s generated to where it’s needed.

Our Power Plants

PGE meets our area’s growing energy demands with a diverse mix of generation facilities that includes water power, wind, coal and natural gas combustion. See the chart below for the generating capabilities of our seven hydroelectric plants, two wind farms and seven thermal plants.

We also own major transmission rights to the Pacific Intertie, the West Coast electrical superhighway. These power exchange lines give us the flexibility to buy and sell power to other utilities when it’s not needed by our customers.

We manage the output of our own power plants in conjunction with available power supplies on the wholesale market to deliver power to our customers at the lowest price possible.

Wholly owned plants Location Net MW Capacity1
Hydroelectric
Faraday Clackamas River 46
North Fork Clackamas River 58
Oak Grove Clackamas River 44
River Mill Clackamas River 25
T.W. Sullivan Willamette River 18
Natural Gas/Oil
Beaver Clatskanie, Ore. 516
Carty Boardman, Ore. 440
Coyote Spring Boardman, Ore. 248
Port Westward Clatskanie, Ore. 401
Port Westward Unit 2 Clatskanie, Ore. 224
Wind
Biglow Canyon Wind Farm2 Sherman Co., Ore. 450
Tucannon River Wind Farm2 Dayton, Wash. 267
Jointly owned plants3
Coal
Boardman4 Boardman, Ore. 518
Colstrip 3 & 45 Colstrip, Mont. 296
Hydroelectric
Pelton6 Deschutes River 73
Round Butte6 Deschutes River 230
Total 3,414
Dispatchable Standby Generation7 94

1 Based on generation under normal operating conditions, net of electricity used in the operation of a given facility.
2 For wind-powered generating facilities, nameplate ratings are used in place of net capacity.
3 Reflects PGE’s ownership share.
4 PGE operates Boardman and has a 90 percent ownership interest.
5 PPL Montana, LLC operates Colstrip 3 & 4; PGE has a 20 percent ownership interest.
6 PGE operates Pelton and Round Butte and has a 66.67 percent ownership interest.
7 PGE remotely starts, operates and maintains customer-owned, standby generators for system operating reserves.

Power Sources

Wind

PGE owns two wind farms, Tucannon River Wind Farm, near Dayton, Wash., and Biglow Canyon Wind Farm, near Wasco, Ore.

These projects support PGE’s diverse energy portfolio, and help PGE meet the State of Oregon’s Renewable Energy Standard, which was updated in 2016 as part of the Oregon Clean Electricity Plan to require that PGE supply 50 percent of its electricity from qualifying renewable sources by 2040.

Natural Gas

PGE owns and operates several natural gas-fired power plants. The newest are Port Westward Unit 2 and the Carty Generating Station.

Port Westward Unit 2 is designed to help meet real-time fluctuations in customer demand, integrate variable resources like wind and solar, and serve as a peaking resource during periods of high demand, helping maintain system reliability. The plant, adjacent to PGE’s Port Westward and Beaver plants in Clatskanie, Ore., began serving customers in late 2014.

The Carty Generating Station is a highly-efficient, 440-megawatt plant near Boardman, Ore. that is designed for reliable, cost-efficient service day in and day out. It came online in July 2016.

Hydroelectric

PGE owns five hydroelectric plants, on the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers, and co-owns two more on the Deschutes River. All have been upgraded with the latest technology to protect migratory fish. Learn more about our efforts to protect fish and wildlife.

Solar

PGE is helping to grow solar energy in Oregon in a variety of ways, including:

  • supporting customer-owned solar power projects through net-metering
  • offering customers the ability to increase their support of solar energy via our Green Future Solar program
  • creating partnerships to implement solar installations that feed the grid:
    • The nation’s first solar highway. PGE helped develop the nation’s first solar highway — the Oregon Solar Highway Demonstration Project — at the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 interchange in Tualatin. The electricity generated offsets power used by highway lights, reducing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. The 104-kilowatt solar photovoltaic demonstration project, which is 540 feet long — almost the length of two football fields — is a collaborative effort with the Oregon Department of Transportation. The $1.3 million project came online in December 2008 and is an all-Oregon project built by Oregon companies.
    • Baldock solar highway. In January 2012, PGE and the Oregon Department of Transportation brought their second joint solar highway project online — the nation’s largest solar highway project. Adjacent to farm fields on one side and a safety rest area on the other, the Baldock Solar Highway Project is a 1.75-megawatt solar array at the Baldock Safety Rest Area, south of Wilsonville on Interstate 5. The 6,994 panel array sits on approximately seven acres at the northbound rest area, producing about 1.97 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually. The project features a solar energy interpretive display, edged by a sustainable community garden. It is an all-Oregon project built by Oregon companies.
    • Portland Public Schools. In February 2015, PGE and PPS partnered on the installation of 1.2 megawatts of solar generation, in the form of 4,000 panels atop six Portland Public School roofs. The six schools selected by PPS – Arleta K-8, Bridlemile K-5, Hosford Middle School, James John K-5, Laurelhurst K-8 and Wilson High School – also received new roofs as a result of a School Building Improvement Bond approved by Portland voters in 2012 to modernize and upgrade school buildings.
    • Yamhill and Bellevue Projects. PGE customers also are receiving renewable energy from enXco’s Yamhill and Bellevue Solar Projects in Oregon’s Yamhill County. Completed in fall 2011, the two thin-film solar photovoltaic installations cover about 23 acres and have a combined generating capacity of 2.84 MW, enough to power about 338 homes annually. Individually, they are the second-and third-largest solar facilities now operating in Oregon and will help serve PGE customers for 25 years.
    • Outback Project. Oregon’s largest solar array when it was completed in 2012, the Outback Solar Project in Lake County is made up of 20,000 ground-mounted, photovoltaic panels with a combined 5 MW generating capacity. The panels use a single-axis tracking system to maximize solar exposure. The entire output of the project serves PGE customers via a 25-year contract with its owner, Constellation Energy.
    • Northwest’s largest rooftop installation. PGE, ProLogis and other partners rolled out a 2.4 megawatt solar project in 2010, the largest rooftop solar project in the Pacific Northwest. The project adds to a 2009 ProLogis rooftop solar project, bringing PGE’s total partnership with ProLogis to 3.5 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power about 312 households annually. The project was also funded in part by PGE Clean Wind renewable power customers. The 2010 project covers 900,000 square feet of roof space on seven ProLogis distribution centers in Portland, Gresham and Clackamas. Using thin-film solar panels, it puts solar power directly onto the grid, adding to the renewable energy PGE already delivers to our customers.

Coal

PGE has implemented an operating plan for our Boardman Plant, often called the Boardman 2020 plan, under which PGE has installed new emissions controls at the plant and agreed to end the use of coal there by Dec. 31, 2020. Learn more about the future of the Boardman plant.