Power Plant Still Looms on Sandy’s Horizon

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality is taking public comment on a water quality permit for the proposed Troutdale Energy Center, a 653-megawatt gas fired power plant that would be built near the west bank of the Sandy River. DEQ will hear testimony Thursday May 14 at 6:30 pm at Glen Otto Park, and in writing through May 22. Agency personnel will also join the Council’s regular meeting Monday May 18 to discuss the permit.

Proposed site of the Troutdale Energy Center (Courtesy Friends of Columbia Gorge)

Proposed site of the Troutdale Energy Center (Courtesy Friends of Columbia Gorge)

The water quality permit is the final state permit required to construct the power plant, a proposal by Development Partners LLC of White Plains, NY that would add approximately 50% to the Portland Metro area’s natural gas consumption and emissions. DEQ approved an air quality permit for the power plant, which Friends of the Columbia Gorge challenged in court. Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Oregon Pilots association also challenged a permit by Oregon’s Energy Facilities Siting Commission, which is still to be decided. EFSC proposed that the energy permit be approved, but the contested case hearing, the final appeal in the state’s energy permit process, is still pending.

The DEQ’s draft water quality analysis suggests that the power plant’s effluent from using up to 5.4 million gallons per day of cooling water would meet all Oregon water quality standards. It also dismisses impacts from the effluent on human health and aquatic habitat for Endangered Species Act threatened salmon, steelhead and smelt.

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council has advised state agencies to reject the power plant because of impacts to air quality and habitat, particularly to the Sandy Delta which lies directly across the river from the proposed site on the Port of Portland’s Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park. Friends of the Columbia Gorge have also objected to the air quality impacts the power plant would cause in the Gorge, whose western boundary is the mouth of the Sandy, and the Oregon Pilots Association conducted a study indicating that the turbulent heat plume from the power plant’s exhaust stack could cause 10 or more pilot deaths per year.

Development Partners LLC had proposed the Troutdale Energy Center to Portland General Electric as a replacement for the coal-fired Boardman power plant that is scheduled to shut down, but PGE did not select the Sandy River location. Power plant proponents, who sold an interest in the project as part of an investment portfolio marketed by Boston based Energy Investors Funds, are continuing to develop the power plant despite PGE’s rejection.

Send your comments on the Troutdale Energy Center to:

Rob Burkhart, Permit Writer
2020 SW 4th Ave., Suite 400
Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-229-6957
Email: nwr.wqpermit@deq.state.or.us

Comments are due by 5 pm May 22, 2015.

To read more about the Troutdale Energy Center’s permits and the power plant’s impacts, please see:

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.