By Portland Business Journal

Portland General Electric Co. on Tuesday started the search for an independent evaluator to help the company manage several bids to acquire new power resources.

The Portland-based electric utility (NYSE: POR) issued a request for proposals for qualified a third-party evaluator who will ultimately be chosen by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

⿿Our customers need to be confident that the resources we bring online to serve them are selected through a fair and balanced process that results in cost-effective decisions,⿝ Jim Lobdell, PGE⿿s vice president for power operations and resource strategy, said in a news release.

PGE said it expects to conduct up to three separate competitive bids this year to acquire power resources necessary to meeting electricity demand over the next decade.

That includes:

  • About 200 megawatts of electricity to come online around 2013 for use during peak use periods and to help integrate intermittent wind and solar resources. This bid will also seek about 200 megawatts of power for use during peak demand in the winter and summer and another 150 megawatts for winter-only peak supply.
  • About 120 average megawatts of new renewable energy to come online by 2015 to help meet the stateâ¿¿s renewable energy standard. Because the output from most renewable energy technologies is variable, the 120 average megawatts would be the equivalent of the output from a 330 to 440-megawatt wind farm.
  • About 300 to 500 megawatts of baseload combined-cycle natural gas generating capacity to be acquired by 2015 to meet increasing demand and replace expiring long-term contracts.

The company also plans to save about 214 megawatts of energy through efficiency measures, accounting for about half of its expected load growth over the next decade.

PGE outlined its expected power needs in an integrated resource plan that was acknowledged by state energy regulators in November.

Though that plan also noted the companyâ¿¿s plan to close its coal-fired plant near Boardman in 2020, PGE has yet to come up with a replacement for the output from the 585-megawatt plant.

The state Environmental Quality Commission signed-off on the Boardman closure plans last month.

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