The Oregon PUC on Nov. 18 granted Portland General Electric an extension on filing its next integrated resource plan until March 31, 2023.

PGE is required to submit an IRP within two years of when its previous plan was acknowledged by the commission, which was March 2020. State law says a utility may only request an extension if it does not intend to undertake any significant resource action within two years following the filing date.

The utility's next IRP will be much more involved because of the planning requirements established in Oregon House Bill 2021 enacted in September, which requires PGE and PacifiCorp to eliminate carbon emissions by 2040. The state's IOUs are also required to submit plans to reduce emissions by 80 percent from a baseline amount by 2030 and 90 percent by 2035.

PGE said that it will need more time to coordinate with stakeholders and staff to meet changing system needs and decarbonization targets, as well as to incorporate the new Clean Energy Plan and Utility Community Benefits and Impacts Advisory Group reports into the IRP.

"The degree of planning required to implement HB 2021 is difficult and the timeline to take action on these targets is limited. This tension highlights the value in dedicating time up front to identify the most effective practices and makes PGE's request for more time reasonable," OPUC staff said in its recommendation to grant the waiver.

"This is because the legislation's clean energy targets require demonstrated changes in operational emissions to achieve compliance. It will also require integrating a large amount of new renewables along with a transformational amount of non-emitting, dispatchable/flexible technologies to meet the legislation's targets."

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Editor - Clearing Up

Steve began covering energy policy and resource development in the Pacific Northwest in 1999. He has been editor of Clearing Up since 2003, and has been a fellow at the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources and University of Texas.