Portland Mayor Weighs in on PGEs Dirty Coal Plant

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City of
PORTLAND, OREGON
Office of Mayor Sam Adams
Sam Adams, Mayor
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 340
Portland, Oregon 97204-1994
(503) 823-4120
F: (503) 823-3588
E: mayorsam@ci.portland.or.us
October 5, 2009
Jim Piro
President and CEO
Portland General Electric
121 SW Salmon
Portland, Oregon 97201
Dear Jim,
I consider PGE to be one of Portland’s most valued community partners and I am proud that
Portland General Electric is an independent Portland-based company.
I would especially like to thank PGE for working closely with the City on the Clean Energy
Works Portland pilot program, an integrated partnership to create green jobs, reduce carbon
emissions and achieve energy bill savings. With our Clean Energy Works partners, we are
showing how the public and private sectors, alongside community organizations and labor, can
achieve real social, economic and environmental equity.
I appreciate the opportunity for public comment on your draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). It
is on our firm foundation of partnership that I submit my proposed changes to your draft IRP and
offer my help to make it happen.
Upfront, I want to laud the strategies that seek to advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy
future for the Portland region. I’m pleased that the plan reflects a commitment to acquire clean
energy resources in implementing Oregon’s Renewable Energy Standard; pursues peak energy
demand reduction; and conveys PGE’s overall willingness to seek out new opportunities in
sustainable energy resources.
My primary concern, however, is that the draft IRP relies on coal-based energy production and
not enough on energy efficiency and clean technology. It is striking to me that the draft IRP
shows the share of PGE’s electricity from coal actually increasing over time, from 24 percent in
2010 to 25 percent in 2015.
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I believe such a coal-dependent IRP is a poor long-term resource strategy as carbon regulation
and firm targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are implemented. PGE’s own
assumptions about the future of Boardman are based on a regulatory environment that is certain
to change and make coal still less affordable. I strongly urge you to evaluate phasing out
Boardman and the procurement of coal-produced electricity by 2020 at the latest.
We want to help. This month, Portland City Council will be asked to approve a long-range
climate protection policy, the Climate Action Plan. The Plan establishes a goal of reducing
carbon emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels—a target based on the latest science from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—and lays out a roadmap to transition our entire
community from fossil-fuel dependence to a thriving, prosperous, low-carbon society.
Energy efficiency offers compelling advantages as a high-certainty, low-cost, zero-carbon
resource that alleviates transmission issues and brings a host of related benefits. It can also keep
business costs low, making our firms more competitive and growing the local economy.
McKinsey’s recent “Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy” study, for example, found that about
75 percent of the total carbon-reduction potential in the building sector produces net economic
benefits.1
I also note that the recent Sixth Power Plan from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council
anticipates that energy efficiency can meet 85 percent of the increased need for electricity over
the next 20 years for the entire region, considerably higher than PGE’s own forecast of meeting
half its demand growth with efficiency.2 Recent experience suggests the Power Council’s targets
are realistic: The region has achieved 762 average megawatts of efficiency over the last four
years, for example, already exceeding the five-year conservation target of 700 average
megawatts adopted in the Fifth Power Plan in 2004.3
I see many opportunities to work together with PGE to dramatically ramp up energy efficiency,
keeping costs low both for the utility and for Portland businesses and residents. The Clean
Energy Works Portland program is just one example of how we can work together to scale up
energy efficiency. Portland is currently seeking outside private and federal resources that can
help lower the costs of acquiring efficiency still further, and the IRP should consider how these
leveraged resources can help reduce PGE’s overall resource-acquisition costs.
By shifting more of your focus to energy efficiency and clean technology, you also will help to
better position the Portland region as the hub of the nation’s clean technology industry, a key
objective in our new Economic Development Strategy.4
1 “Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy.” McKinsey & Co., 2009. URL:
2 “Draft Sixth Power Plan,” Northwest Power and Conservation Council, September 2009. URL:
3 “Draft Northwest Power Plan recommends mostly energy efficiency to meet future demand for electricity and
reduce risk of future electricity shortages and high prices,” Northwest Power and Conservation Council, September
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Again thank you for being one of the City’s most valued organizations. I support elements of the
draft Integrated Resource Plan that seek to advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for
the Portland region.
I welcome further discussion on these points. PGE’s resource decisions have never been more
important, and I look forward to participating in the formal IRP proceeding at the Public Utility
Commission.
Sincerely,
Sam Adams

Portland Mayor Sam Adams weighed in today on Portland General Electric (PGE)”s Integrated Resource Plan.  He told PGE that Portlanders want and expect PGE to move us away from using dirty coal and to phase out the Boardman Coal Plant!

Here’s a snippet of what the Mayor said:

“My primary concern, however, is that the draft IRP relies on coal-based energy production and not enough on energy efficiency and clean technology. It is striking to me that the draft IRP shows the share of PGE’s electricity from coal actually increasing over time, from 24 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2015.

I believe such a coal-dependent IRP is a poor long-term resource strategy as carbon regulation and firm targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are implemented. PGE’s own assumptions about the future of Boardman are based on a regulatory environment that is certain to change and make coal still less affordable. I strongly urge you to evaluate phasing out Boardman and the procurement of coal-produced electricity by 2020 at the latest. ”

Click here to read the Mayor’s entire letter.

Click here to take action for a coal free Northwest!

One Response to Portland Mayor Weighs in on PGEs Dirty Coal Plant

  1. Hello. I happened upon your web site while I was looking for something else. While I don’t agree with some of what you posted we do have similar viewpoints by and large. I have bookmarked your site and may visit again in the near future to see what you are blogging about in 2010!

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