Mt. Hood Community College and Development Partners, sponsors of the proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Troutdale, are collaborating on a new program to train future energy plant operators.

Mt. Hood and Development Partners will work with Power Plant Management Services and NAES Corp. on the program, which is still in the early stages.

'We are excited about the partnership with Troutdale Energy Center and the opportunity to give our students a pathway to a career in the growing energy sector,' said Michael Hay, president of Mt. Hood Community College, in a statement.

The Troutdale Energy Center - the name of the proposed power plant - would serve as a training facility for student interns. The program may include training in thermal dynamics, technology and energy regulatory compliance.

Bob Howard, director of Development Partners, which develops power plants across the country, said there is a shortage of qualified energy plant operators, noting that power plants are lucky to have one control operator when two are recommended.

Even if the Troutdale Energy Center is not built, Howard said there is a strong likelihood that the program will move forward in another form because of the need for qualified operators.

Marc Goldberg, dean of Workforce and Adult Basic Skills at Mt. Hood, said many details still need to be worked out, but the partners have expressed interest in having Mt. Hood students intern at other facilities outside of Multnomah County. NAES manages energy plants across the country, including a plant in Hillsboro.

Sponsors of the Troutdale Energy Center, which would be built at the Port of Portland-owned Reynolds Industrial Park in Troutdale, filed a notice of intent to file an application to build the facility with the Oregon Department of Energy.

The energy department is taking public comment until 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3. Send comments to Todd Cornett by phone at 503-378-8692 or fax to 503-373-7806; by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or by mail to Oregon Department of Energy, 625 Marion St. N.E., Salem, 97301-3742.

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