Developer could spend $850 million on plant construction

The Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park may become the home of two multimillion dollar power plants, which could replace the Boardman Coal Plant and provide a cleaner power source.

Troutdale Energy Center LLC, an affiliate of Development Partners, a developer and owner of power plants, is working with the Port of Portland and the city of Troutdale to develop the facility, which would consist of natural-gas powered, dual-fuel combined-cycle and simple-cycle power plants.

The proposal is still in the preliminary stages, but stakeholders believe the plants could cost between $750 million and $850 million, creating hundreds of construction jobs and 25 to 35 high-end technical operations jobs at the plants.

Portland General Electric has put forward an Integrated Resource Plan, which outlines strategies to meet the region's future electricity needs during the next 20 years. The plan includes the closure of the Boardman plant by 2020 and identifies the need for two new natural gas-fired power plants to be built in the near term.

The question is where the plants will be built and at what cost.

Stakeholders with the power plants eventually hope to submit a final proposal to PGE for consideration.

If built, the proposed power plants combined would generate 650 megawatts of energy, about 100 megawatts more than what the Boardman plant generates. The plants also would provide a backup to renewable energy such as wind and solar.

Bob Howard, director with Development Partners, said the Reynolds industrial site's benefits include its brownfield industrial zoning, substantial utility infrastructure and proximity to the wastewater treatment plant, which would provide reclaimed water for the plant. The plants would connect to the Blue Lake substation.

Howard said closer power plants benefit ratepayers in the Portland area as it reduces the need for more long-distance transmission lines, increasing power-system reliability, efficiency and quality of electricity. Compared to a coal-powered plant, natural gas generation produces less pollution and much less sulfur and mercury emissions, he said.

Comparable plants include the River Road Generating Plant in Clark County, Wash., which uses combined-cycle technology, Howard said. The plants would have to meet local noise regulations, he said.

Josh Thomas, spokesman for the Port of Portland, said the proposed facility fits in with a 38.4-acre site, known as Lot 3, that borders the FedEx distribution site on the east. Lot 3 already has electric and gas capabilities, including an underground gas pipeline, that are an asset to the proposed plants, he said.

Thomas said the property also would benefit from transportation and infrastructure projects, including construction work on Interstate 84 and plans to finish building Swigert Way, which borders Lot 3.

'It's our understanding that the project will not impact the wetlands' on the Reynolds property, he said, noting that more than half of the property is reserved for open space.

Howard said the power plants still have to go through an extensive permitting process with state and federal agencies. He noted that there is a risk in going through the process before having an agreement with PGE, but felt it's worth it because PGE has established a need for the facility and because the facility 'meets those needs at a cost-effective rate to PGE ratepayers.'

Howard said a series of meetings with the public will be held as the plans come together.

The port bought the more than 700-acre Alcoa-Reynolds aluminum plant just outside Troutdale in 2004. The site with annexed by Troutdale, and both governments have worked to clean and redevelop the property.

A three-phase development is planned on the site, which will hopefully bring in thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in income and new state and local taxes.

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