PGE projects mean 100s of construction jobs in Boardman, Dayton

June 4, 2013 

— Up to 800 construction jobs could be generated by two new power projects planned in Boardman and Dayton by Portland General Electric Co.

PGE has announced plans for a 440-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant near Boardman costing up to

$455 million. Up to 500 construction jobs, most of them union, will be created and 20 full-time positions will be available when the plant is operating, according to PGE.

PGE also plans to take over the second phase of the Lower Snake River wind farm near Dayton, currently under development by Puget Sound Energy. Plans call for 116 wind turbines, with an overall project cost of up to $535 million. About 300 construction jobs will be created and 18 full-time operating positions, according to PGE.

PGE requested bids a year ago for day-to-day electric power generation and for power generation from renewable resources.

The natural gas-fired power plant is planned to add additional baseload power to meet growing customer demand and to prepare for the expiration of long-term hydropower agreements, said PGE spokesman Steven Corson.

PGE already owns two plants near Boardman -- the Coyote Spring Generating Station, a natural gas-fired plant, and 65 percent of the Boardman Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant.

PGE has agreed with Oregon state regulators to quit burning coal at the Boardman Generating Station in 2020. However, rather than shutting down the plant, PGE is researching a possible conversion to biomass.

The new natural-gas fired plant is not intended to replace the coal-fired plant, which supplies power for about 250,000 homes for PGE. A decision on replacing its coal-fired power output will be made closer to 2020.

The plant employs about 110 PGE workers and 30 contract workers, plus additional contract workers for annual maintenance outages.

The wind farm expansion will help PGE meet the Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires the company to generate 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025, Corson said.

It also helps to diversify PGE's wind power generation. Its current wind resources are in the Columbia Gorge, and having turbines in another area could help power generation when the wind is blowing in different places.

The new gas-fired plant will be built by Abengoa S.A., an international developer and contractor, and operated by PGE. It is scheduled to go online in 2016 and will be capable of producing enough electricity to serve about 300,000 homes.

The wind farm project will be built for PGE by RES Americas Construction using 116 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens Energy. The project is expected to be completed in 2015 and could generate power for 84,000 homes, according to PGE.

PGE provides electricity to customers in Portland, Salem and the surrounding region.

w Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

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