Portland General Electric could be on a major resource acquisition spree over the next few years that would ­further decarbonize the utility’s generating ­portfolio, according to the company’s 2019 integrated resource plan filed with the Oregon PUC July 19 [LC 73].

The proposed 20-year resource plan leans heavily on energy efficiency and demand response programs to trim PGE’s capacity resource needs, but the loss of several contracts over the next few years and retirement of the coal-fired Boardman power plant will leave the company with a capacity deficit of 350 MW starting next year that grows to 685 MW by 2025 (CU No. 1903 [12]).

“We face increasing needs for resources that support reliability (i.e., capacity needs), even after considering the potential impacts of distributed energy resources like energy efficiency, customer-sited solar and storage, and demand response,” the IRP says. “However, uncertainties in economic conditions, DER adoption, [electric vehicle] adoption, and market availability suggest that our needs in 2025 could range between approximately 350 MW and approximately 1,000 MW. These estimates exclude the potential impacts to regional reliability of loads that elect to take energy service from an energy service supplier . . . through long-term direct access.”

PGE says that its need for new dispatchable capacity resources in the mid-2020s will depend strongly on its ability to replace expiring contracts with similar quantities of capacity.

The IRP’s action plan calls for the utility to “pursue cost-competitive agreements for existing capacity in the region,” and “updating the commission and stakeholders on the status of bilateral negotiations.”

If needed, the utility will also conduct a request for proposals process for nonemitting resources to meet remaining capacity needs.

In 2018, PGE signed a contract with BPA for 200 MW of surplus hydroelectric power to help fill the utility’s capacity shortfall. The pair of five-year deals with BPA will help PGE meet a projected shortfall of 561 MW when coal operations end at Boardman in 2020 (CU No. 1841 [14]). In November 2018, the utility signed a 10-year contract starting in 2021 with Douglas County PUD for between 130 and 160 MW of power from Wells Dam (CU No. 1775 [10]).

The utility’s resource plan calls for acquiring ­additional renewable energy, and says that “”customer participation will be critical to achieving long-term ­decarbonization at the lowest cost to customers.”

Next year the company hopes to release a request for proposal for 150 aMW of renewable energy that would enter service in 2023. PGE’s modeling also shows the need for 227 aMW of renewables in 2025.

The utility will also “seek to acquire all cost-effective energy efficiency, which is currently forecasted by the Energy Trust of Oregon to be 157 aMW on a cumulative basis by 2025.”

The proposed action plan in the IRP calls for acquiring 141 MW of winter demand response (low case: 73 MW, high case: 297 MW) and 211 MW of summer demand response (low case: 108 MW, high case: 383 MW).

It also calls for 137 MW of dispatchable standby ­generation and 4 MW of utility-controlled customer ­storage (low case: 2.2 MW, high case: 11.2 MW).

“The energy industry is undergoing a period of ­profound change and uncertainty driven by climate change, new technologies and changing customer­ e­xpectations,” Maria Pope, president and CEO of PGE, said in opening remarks to the IRP. “By incorporating maximum flexibility into the plan, we will be able to accommodate shifts in needs, in consultation with the Oregon Public Utility Commission and our stakeholders.”

The first public hearing on the IRP is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2020.