Oregon Commission Approves PGE’s 2021 RFP Final Shortlist with Conditions

At the July 14, 2022 Special Public Meeting in Docket No. UM 2166, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (Commission) acknowledged Portland General Electric Company’s (PGE’s) final shortlist for its 2021 All-Source Request for Proposals (RFP) with conditions. The Commission published an Order memorializing its decision on August 31, 2022. PGE will begin negotiations with bidders from the final shortlist.  

PGE’s RFP and final shortlist involved a unique set of circumstances. In Oregon, RFPs are typically issued after a need is identified in a utility’s acknowledged Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) or IRP Update. PGE’s 2019 IRP and IRP Update indicated a need by the end of 2024, and PGE’s IRP action plan indicated PGE would use an RFP to procure 150 average megawatts (MWa), plus up to 100 MW for its Green Future Impact program (180 MWa total). However, this IRP preceded Oregon House Bill 2021 of 2021 (HB 2021), which set an 80 percent clean energy goal by 2030, a 90 percent goal by 2035, and a 100 percent goal by 2040. PGE expects to need a substantial amount of additional renewables to meet its HB 2021 goals. The Commission declined to approve a larger procurement without further analysis and directed PGE to run an analysis for an alternative procurement scenario that would procure additional renewables needed to meet the 2030 target in HB 2021.

On May 5, 2022, PGE presented a final shortlist that included 604 unique MWa with an analysis of three procurement scenarios of 180 Mwa, 250 Mwa, and 400 Mwa. PGE indicated it still intended to procure at the 180 Mwa level, but it would consider procuring additional resources. Commission Staff and the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon submitted comments and made recommendations on the Commission’s acknowledgement of the final shortlist. Commission Staff recommended acknowledgement at the 250 Mwa with several additional conditions to increase transparency.

The Commission acknowledged PGE’s final shortlist with several conditions to promote transparency. First, the Commission required the Independent Evaluator (IE), Bates White, to continue serving as the IE through contract negotiations, file a closing report after final resource selection, and answer any Commission or Staff questions on the report. Second, the Commission adopted a condition that, at time of acknowledgement, the analysis supported procurement at the 250 Mwa level. Third, the Commission required PGE to file its preferred portfolio for the 250 Mwa level to provide a baseline understanding of how the scenario analysis compares to the final procurement for future prudence review. Fourth, the Commission required PGE to use the 250 Mwa efficient frontier portfolio results as the primary rank order for negotiations. The Commission noted that this was intended to contextualize the acknowledgement and safeguard against any potential utility bias from benchmark resources. Finally, the Commission ordered PGE to file a status report by December 1, 2022 if it expects procurement to extend beyond the end of 2022 in order to explain why it is in the customers’ interest for PGE to continue procurement rather than begin a new planning and procurement process.

Sanger Law, PC represented the Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) regarding the PGE RFP.

NIPPC represents electricity market participants in the Pacific Northwest, including independent power producers, electricity service suppliers, and transmission companies. NIPPC is committed to facilitating cost-effective electricity sales, offering consumers choices in their energy supply, and advancing fair, competitive power markets.

These materials are intended to as informational and are not to be considered legal advice or legal opinion, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. Information included about previous case results does not assure a similar future result.