A new natural gas plant is coming to Columbia County. The project was announced this week by Portland General Electric.
PGE has been expanding its use of renewable power sources – like wind power – in recent years. But wind doesn’t provide a steady energy supply, so PGE started shopping a few years ago for ways to help even out that variability.
An independent evaluator has concluded that that the most cost-effective approach is for PGE to follow through with its own plan, called "Port Westward 2."
PGE president Jim Piro says the 220-megawatt plant will be built next to an existing plant in Clatskanie. He says it'll have multiple units:
Piro said, " ... and you can be really flexible in how they go up and down, to meet both our customers' energy needs, as well as to integrate the variable renewable resources into the grid."
Piro says it’ll take until 2015 to build the plant. He says ratepayers won't be charged, until Port Westward 2 is up and running.