The region's most ambitious energy storage pilot project is a step closer to launching.

Oregon's Energy Facility Siting Council is seeking comments on a proposed draft order that would approve the first project in Portland General Electric's plan to build out a 38 MW energy storage portfolio.

In July, PGE requested approval to build and operate a 4 to 6 MW battery storage system that would be attached to the 220 MW Port Westward II Generating Project in Clatskanie, Ore.

EFSC opened the comment period on Aug. 29 for the proposed draft order, which would amend Port Westward's site certificate to allow for either lithium-ion or flow-battery storage system to be added to the natural gas-fired facility.

The project would create a "transmission connected storage device to create a 'hybrid plant,'" PGE said in its application with EFSC.

"The project provides a unique use case to utilize a relatively small storage device to realize the full value of spinning reserves of an off-line turbine (18.9 MW), reducing fuel use and emissions at the plant or otherwise allowing another plant (e.g. hybrid) to operate at full capacity," the utility said.

PGE is currently reviewing 12 bids it received from a request for information released earlier this year, and hopes to energize the project in 2021.

The battery installation proposal for Port Westward is just one of a series of deployments called for in the utility's PGE's energy storage plan, which the Oregon PUC approved in November (CU No. 1824 [18]).

PGE plans to invest between $108 million and $190 million to deploy 38 MW worth of batteries in a variety of different places along its network, which is by far the most ambitious battery storage pilot program in the region.

The utility is currently either preparing to release requests for information or reviewing bids for several proposed projects.

In addition to the Port Westward battery project, which the storage plan says will cost $10.1 million in net present value, PGE is also evaluating 12 bids for a 17 to 20 MW, four-hour system (68-80 MWh) that would deployed at its Coffee Creek substation.

PGE says the Coffee Creek project will allow it to gain experience and learn from all aspects of a utility-scale energy storage system. The substation serves 550 customers, two thirds of which are commercial customers. The project will have a capital investment of between $30 million and $36 million, and is planned to be on line in 2021

The utility has also signed an agreement with the City of Beaverton to develop a microgrid at the city's Public Safety Center, which is currently under construction. Work on the energy storage component is not expected to begin until next year, and PGE expects to energize it by April 2020.

PGE is also negotiating for anther microgrid to come on line the same year, according to Melanie Erdman, spokeswoman for PGE.

The energy storage plan calls for creating at least one customer microgrid and one community microgrid by installing up to 12.5 MW of energy storage at between two to five customer and community sites. The utility expects the cost of the program to range between $11 million for five smaller batteries to $41 million for five larger batteries, according to the energy storage plan.

PGE is also pursuing plans to install a 2 MW (4 MWh) energy storage device at the existing Baldock solar array in Aurora, Ore. An RFP for the project is under development, and the utility is waiting for feedback from OPUC staff on the site selection, Erdmann said.

"If we receive favorable feedback then we will issue the RFP," Erdmann said, via email. "We currently expect the project to be energized in 2021."

The Baldock energy storage system would be interconnected to PGE's Canby Substation via the Canby-Butteville feeder. PGE expects a capital investment in the range of $2.8 million and $4.1 million, according to the energy storage plan.

The utility also plans to install battery inverter systems at 500 residential customer homes, and is looking at how this could intersect with its Smart Grid Test Bed (CU No. 1875 [14]) effort. This project is expected to cost between $2.1 million and $6 million, depending on who owns the battery.

The public comment period on the Port Westward II battery project will be open until Sept. 26, and EFSC will hold a public hearing on the project that same day in Clatskanie.