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How We Generate Electricity
How We Generate Energy
A diverse mix for a dependable future
How We Generate Electricity

Portland General Electric focuses on providing its customers with reliable, responsibly generated power at a reasonable cost. PGE relies on several different generating resources to accomplish this, recognizing that greater diversity in our power supply contributes to higher reliability and more stable prices for our customers.

2014 Power Sources as a Percent of Retail Load

PGE 2014 resource mix

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

Some of our electric power comes from generating plants owned by PGE, and some comes from other suppliers. We operate nine wholly-owned and four jointly-owned hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and wind generating plants. We’re proud that we make electricity in Oregon for Oregonians, providing family-wage jobs and developing renewable energy resources to strengthen our region’s future.

We also own many of our own transmission lines. These connections give us the flexibility to manage our facilities in conjunction with other power supplies and other power suppliers on the grid. That way we can move the lowest-cost electricity in real time from where there is abundance to where there is a need.

More renewable energy for Oregon
In September 2013 construction began on PGE’s Tucannon River Wind Farm, located near Dayton, Wash. The 267-megawatt plant (nameplate capacity) will join our existing 450-megawatt Biglow Canyon Wind Farm in Sherman County, Oregon to help us comply with Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard. The project is being built by general contractor and independent renewable power developer RES Americas Construction Inc. using 116 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens Energy Inc. The new wind farm is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

In May 2013 PGE broke ground on Port Westward Unit 2, a flexible natural gas-fired plant 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 220-megawatt plant is located next to our existing Beaver and Port Westward plants. The project is expected to be online in the first quarter of 2015.

Lastly, in January 2014 a contractor selected by PGE broke ground on the Carty Generating Station, a 440-megawatt combined cycle natural gas-fired plant that will help meet growing customer demand, reduce exposure to volatile wholesale power market prices, and replace existing generation lost due to expiring long-term power purchase agreements. This new baseload plant is being build next to PGE’s existing Boardman Power Plant and is expected to be online in mid-2016.

Our current Integrated Resource Plan calls for no new major power plants in the near term beyond those now under construction. Instead, PGE 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.

More energy, less impact
As energy suppliers, we recognize the environmental impact associated with meeting the community’s power needs. As a part of this community, we’re working hard to reduce that impact wherever we can. Recent successes include:

  • Approval of our proposal to cease burning coal at the Boardman coal plant in 2020 and to implement an aggressive and cost-effective emissions-control strategy until then.
  • Constructing new generating plants to help meet Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard.
  • Testing smart grid technologies to help us store and better integrate variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind, take advantage of customer-side resources, and improve reliability on the electric power grid with the Salem Smart Power Center.
  • Innovating with award-winning, certified “green” and fish-friendly hydroelectric projects (see below)

When fish swim, customers win
In 2011, the first clipped Chinook salmon returned to PGE’s Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project since the Round Butte Dam’s Selective Water Withdrawal tower went live in 2009. The tower — a joint project of PGE and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon — enables fish migration from the Upper Deschutes River tributaries to the Pacific Ocean and back. This journey had been impossible since the hydroelectric project was completed in the 1960s. The Selective Water Withdrawal tower received numerous national awards and helped earn the Pelton Round Butte dam complex third-party certification as a green energy source. Along with the T. W. Sullivan plant on the historic Willamette Falls, Pelton Round Butte is PGE’s second hydro project to be green certified. That gives our customers reliable, renewable power they can be proud of.

At the same time, under a new federal operating license issued in 2010, PGE has undertaken many projects to improve our hydroelectric generating projects on the Clackamas River, facilitating better fish passage, healthier waterways, and better recreational opportunities. Completed in Oct. 2012 the River Mill Dam fish collector now features a high-tech structure that isolates one of the dam's turbines to provide a 500 cubic-feet-per-second attraction flow for juvenile fish, helping them find safe passage below the dam. The adult fish sorting facility completed in Mar. 2013 at the North Fork Dam includes an off-ladder adult trap that allows PGE fish biologists to sort wild from hatchery fish with the push of a button rather than handling or anesthetizing them.

The largest PGE improvement project planned for the Clackamas River hydroelectric system, a floating surface collector to be located just above North Fork Dam, will be the flagship fish collection facility for PGE’s hydroelectric operations west of the Cascades. Currently under construction, this project is scheduled to be complete and in service by December 2015, helping juvenile fish on their downstream migration to the sea.

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