Portland General Electric Company (PGE) (NYSE: POR) has announced that its Port Westward Unit 2 plant, a 220-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant located near Clatskanie, Ore., went into service on Dec. 30, 2014 and is now available to generate electricity for PGE customers (See time lapse video below). The new plant is a highly efficient facility designed for maximum flexibility to help meet real-time fluctuations in customer demand and integrate renewable resources.
“With the growing amount of variable renewable power coming online, this type of flexible resource is essential in helping us continue to provide reliable service to our customers in an increasingly complex environment,” said Jim Piro, PGE’s president and CEO.
The plant is comprised of 12 reciprocating engines supplied by Wärtsilä North America that are designed to be highly efficient, flexible and responsive. The 25,000-horsepower 50SG engines are the first of their size in the country to run entirely on natural gas.
“Port Westward Unit 2’s advanced technology and unique configuration allows PGE to ramp up the plant to full load in less than 10 minutes,” said Rick Tetzloff, PGE’s project manager for Port Westward Unit 2. “This flexibility allows us to adjust quickly when renewable energy — like wind and solar — rise and fall with natural variability. And it also means that on peak demand days, our customers benefit from increased reliability.”
Port Westward Unit 2 serves as an important component of the company’s diversified portfolio of energy resources, complementing the new 267-megawatt Tucannon River Wind Farm brought online on Dec. 15, 2014.
The new plant is adjacent to PGE’s existing natural gas-fired Port Westward and Beaver plants in Columbia County, Ore. Construction, which began in May 2013, created more than 400 jobs. The plant was completed ahead of schedule and on budget under fixed-price contracts, with final construction costs expected to be approximately $300 million, excluding AFDC.
Black & Veatch and Oregon-based Harder Mechanical Contractors, Inc., in a contractual joint venture, managed the design and construction of the project. Eleven of the plant’s 12 engines have successfully completed all required performance and functional testing. The 12th engine is undergoing final testing before being placed in service.
Completion of Port Westward Unit 2 is a significant milestone in the implementation of PGE’s 2009 Integrated Resource Plan. The plan was acknowledged by the Oregon Public Utility Commission in November 2010. Port Westward Unit 2 was PGE’s benchmark proposal in a competitive bidding process conducted pursuant to guidelines established by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, using objective scoring criteria intended to identify projects that provide the best balance of cost and risk while meeting PGE customers’ needs for reliable, affordable electric power.