Historically, the PUDs in Oregon purchased all of their power from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). BPA went online in 1937, with the mandate to provide low-cost hydropower to the people of the Pacific Northwest.
Since that time, some public utilities in Oregon have built their own generation facilities to produce some of the power they need. And some have gone to wholesale suppliers other than BPA for some of their power.
But it’s fair to say that most Oregon public utilities still get most of their power from BPA. The region-wide, and nationwide, markets for electricity are changing, though. Bonneville is under tremendous pressure to provide money for salmon enhancement, provide low-cost power for direct service industries, share the benefits of the Federal hydro system with IOUs, and many other issues that all cost money. That tends to drive their prices up.
Other electricity suppliers, including privately-owned and foreign-owned, are not under those same economic pressures. That helps to keep their prices down.
The result is that the market for wholesale electricity is a lot more competitive, and a lot more volatile. How that will affect publicly-owned utilities in the future is certainly not clear.
EXISTING NON-BPA RESOURCES
- Clatskanie PUD – Hydro, 18 MW; Steam Cogeneration 36 MW (jointly with Eugene Water & Electric Board); Gas Turbine 11 MW
- Emerald PUD – Landfill methane generation, 4 MW
- Northern Wasco County PUD – Small hydro – 5 MW & 10 MW
- Tillamook PUD – Dairy methane generation, 0.3 MW
NON-BPA RESOURCES UNDER CONSIDERATION
- Central Lincoln PUD – Cogeneration
- Emerald PUD – Wind generation