Portland General Electric (PGE) announced January 14, 2010 that, rather than attempt to upgrade its Boardman coal fired power plant and operate it until 2040 or longer, it now wants retire the plant in 2020. A number of folks in the Northwest have been working to stop PGE from investing $500 million in new pollution control and operating the plant indefinitely into the future. Investing that kind of money in a pulverized coal plant makes little sense for the planet and is a big financial risk to customers.
Because Boardman is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, this action alone will significantly reduce Oregon’s carbon pollution.
More work needs to be done to get to a final agreement, and a number of folks would like to see the Boardman plant retired before 2020. Retirement in 2019, for example, would guarantee that Oregon makes significant progress towards its 2020 carbon reduction goals. But this action is a big step forward. Rather than fighting the utility to get them to consider shutting the plant down, we will now begin working with them on the plan to actually do it. Φ
Bob Jenks is Executive Director of the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB), 610 SW Broadway, Suite 308, Portland, OR 97204; 503.227.1984; 503.753.4190; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of www.oregoncub.org/about.htm.