Editor's note: The video above is of a recent KGW tour of the Boardman Coal Plant, which is owned by Portland General Electric.
PORTLAND, Ore. — PacifiCorp, the Portland-based electric company that serves nearly 2 million customers in the western United States, revealed a new energy plan on Thursday that includes retiring most of their coal plants over the next 20 years.
The company’s new draft resource plan calls for larger investments in renewable energy resources and storage, such as wind and solar.
“The transition in how we meet our customers’ energy needs is underway,” said Rick Link, PacifiCorp’s vice president of resource planning and acquisitions. “With a focus on lower-cost renewable resources and strategic transmission investments, this plan allows us to continue to deliver the reliable and low-cost energy our customers need as we embark on a phased and well-managed coal transition that minimizes impacts to our thermal operations workforce and communities.”
PacifiCorp currently uses 24 coal units. Under the plan, 16 of the units would be retired by 2030 and another four would be retired by 2038.
In a news release Thursday morning, the company said they recognize the closures will affect the job status of some employees.
“We are mindful that these resource decisions impact our thermal operations employees, their families and communities,” said Chad Teply, PacifiCorp’s senior vice president for business policy and development. “Our top priority is making certain our employees and communities remain informed about the changes ahead and that we work in concert with everyone involved to develop plans that help them transition through this time of change.”
News of the planned closures is the latest example of the changing landscape for power supply companies, with many now opting for cheaper alternatives.
Oregon’s only coal-fired electric plant, the Boardman Coal Plant, which is operated by Portland General Electric, will close by the end of next year. The plant is the biggest single-point source of pollution in Oregon, but also provides high-income jobs for many people in the region.