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Economic and dam related articles

Power Projects Light up Troutdale

by Calvin Hall
The Gresham Outlook, October 21, 2011

Developer could spend $850 million on plant construction

Howard said closer power plants benefit ratepayers in the Portland area as it reduces the need for more long-distance transmission lines, increasing power-system reliability, efficiency and quality of electricity. Compared to a coal-powered plant, natural gas generation produces less pollution and much less sulfur and mercury emissions, he said.

Comparable plants include the River Road Generating Plant in Clark County, Wash., which uses combined-cycle technology, Howard said. The plants would have to meet local noise regulations, he said.

Josh Thomas, spokesman for the Port of Portland, said the proposed facility fits in with a 38.4-acre site, known as Lot 3, that borders the FedEx distribution site on the east. Lot 3 already has electric and gas capabilities, including an underground gas pipeline, that are an asset to the proposed plants, he said.

Thomas said the property also would benefit from transportation and infrastructure projects, including construction work on Interstate 84 and plans to finish building Swigert Way, which borders Lot 3.

"It's our understanding that the project will not impact the wetlands" on the Reynolds property, he said, noting that more than half of the property is reserved for open space.

Howard said the power plants still have to go through an extensive permitting process with state and federal agencies. He noted that there is a risk in going through the process before having an agreement with PGE, but felt it's worth it because PGE has established a need for the facility and because the facility "meets those needs at a cost-effective rate to PGE ratepayers."

Howard said a series of meetings with the public will be held as the plans come together.

The port bought the more than 700-acre Alcoa-Reynolds aluminum plant just outside Troutdale in 2004. The site with annexed by Troutdale, and both governments have worked to clean and redevelop the property.

A three-phase development is planned on the site, which will hopefully bring in thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in income and new state and local taxes.

Calvin Hall
Power Projects Light up Troutdale
The Gresham Outlook, October 21, 2011

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