PGE withdraws waiver request for Rock Creek wind farm

Source: Portland General Electric Company

Portland General Electric Company (NYSE: POR) has withdrawn a petition requesting a one-time waiver of Oregon Public Utility Commission competitive bidding guidelines for new energy resources. The petition was filed September 2, 2010, and reflected PGE’s need to execute a time-sensitive agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) for PGE’s acquisition of the development rights assets for the Rock Creek Wind Farm in Gilliam County, Oregon.

“Based on our preliminary evaluation, this project has excellent wind energy potential, but new regulatory developments affecting the entire wind energy industry make it unlikely that we will be able to complete a transaction on the timeline both PGE and RES Americas had expected, so our request for a waiver is no longer necessary,” said Jim Lobdell, PGE vice president for power operations and resource strategy. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently issued new guidance for development of renewable energy facilities that could require wind developers to complete additional surveys and develop plans to avoid or minimize wind farm impact on certain avian species, potentially extending the time required to evaluate and develop new renewable projects in areas likely to include select species. The Rock Creek project area occupies leased sites south of Arlington and north of Condon, in eastern Oregon and, like much of the western United States, includes areas intended to be covered by the new guidance. 

“Our goal is to secure resources that will benefit our customers,” Lobdell said. “It’s entirely possible that Rock Creek could fit that bill at some point, but because of the impact of the new guidance, it is no longer necessary for us to step outside our normal acquisition process or reach a definitive agreement with RES Americas to purchase the project rights at this time.” 

PGE has also withdrawn its request to the OPUC for an accounting order regarding treatment of expenditures relating to the Rock Creek project.

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