Portland General Electric (PGE) said on Friday it had submitted a proposal to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to close its coal-fired Boardman Power Plant by 2020.

When PGE submitted its proposal to the Oregon DEQ, it asked for rule revisions that would allow the utility to meet environmental rules related to haze-causing emissions by closing the Boardman plant in 2020. PGE also expects to file an addendum to its integrated resource plan in April, requesting acknowledgement of a 2020 closure date contingent on DEQ approval of revised rules. PGE said it would be willing to make some upgrades to reduce emissions between now and 2020.

The Boardman Power Plant is a 585-MW coal-fired electricity generating plant in northeastern Oregon. It is one of PGE’s most cost-effective sources of power, producing electricity at a variable cost of about one-third to one-half the wholesale market price. Boardman provides about 15% of the power PGE delivers to its customers.

Under a plan approved last year, PGE agreed to make at least $520 million in upgrades that would allow the plant to continue operations until 2040.

PGE spokesman Steve Corson told Oregon Public Broadcasting News on Monday that his company will start looking at replacement resources if its 2020 plan is approved. 

"We will evaluate all of the options available to replace Boardman’s electric output," he said. These options could include natural gas and biomass.

Corson said wind and solar could be part of the mix, but they are not reliable enough to fully replace Boardman’s steady power output. PGE is hoping for a decision on its proposal by the end of the year.

Sources: PGE, Oregon Public Broadcasting News