Portland General Electric is in negotiations with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to extend its power purchase agreement for the tribes' share of the 500 MW Pelton Round Butte hydroelectric project and the net output from its re-regulation plant.

The negotiations went public in a June 2 filing with the Oregon PUC asking for a waiver of the state's competitive bidding guidelines.

The utility says it's seeking a 15-year PPA for 224 MW from the three dams, and says the contract should be finalized by the end of 2021, according to an SEC filing made June 3.

"If the bilateral negotiations are successfully completed and the waiver is approved, PGE estimates that the remaining capacity need in 2025 will be approximately 287 MW," PGE said in the filing.

The new power purchase agreement would begin in 2025 and extend through 2040, a spokesperson for the company told Clearing Up.

The utility currently owns 66 percent of the dams' output and has the remainder under a contract that is expiring. PGE and the tribes have been co-managing the project since 1980. In 2001, the tribes purchased a third of the output from the facility. The Pelton Round Butte project is the largest hydroelectric facility located entirely in Oregon.

The utility has been hunting for emissions-free hydro resources to help meet its projected capacity deficit, and a deal with tribes would trim that current projected capacity deficit to 287 MW in 2025, and 685 MW in 2026. In the past few years, the utility has signed a series of contracts with for hydroelectric capacity from Douglas County PUD and BPA.

However, the utility's projected deficits don't reflect the potential loss of 296 MW from the Colstrip Generating Station.

PGE and the other four Pacific Northwest utilities are currently in arbitration over the future of CGS. Talen Energy, the owner-operator of the plant, has accused the Pacific Northwest owners of Colstrip, which include PGE, of trying to close the plant in 2025 (CU No. 2003 [13]).

The utility plans to release a request for proposals for 150 aMW of renewable energy, and is in the process of selecting an independent evaluator for the RFP. PGE's modeling for its 2019 integrated resource plan shows Montana wind to be the least cost option (CU No. 1903 [12]).

The utility is planning to submit a benchmark resource bid into the competitive process, according to the SEC filing.

The utility has a PPA in place with NextEra for 300 MW of wind, 50 MW of solar generation and 30 MW of battery storage from Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility in Morrow County, Ore. The Wheatridge facility is the first utility scale project in North America to co-locate and integrate wind, solar and battery technologies.

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Editor - Clearing Up

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