Last year, drivers in west Tualatin watched Portland General Electric’s Integrated Operations Center being constructed near the intersection of 124th Avenue and Tualatin-Sherwood Road and no doubt were curious about what was going on inside.
The Integrated Operations Center, dubbed the IOC, centralizes PGE’s mission-critical operations that maintain the flow of power to customers throughout its service territory. It is the only facility of its kind serving all of PGE’s customers, according to Ray Payne, PGE’S director of grid operations.
He added, “These operations include the System Control Center, cyber security, physical security and network security. It provides immediate and enduring value to customers through improved reliability, increased resilience and security, and better integration of clean-energy resources into the system.”
The 110,000-square-foot-facility centralizes all mission-critical operations that maintain the flow of power to customers, including system control, various security functions, emergency management and transmission, and market operations.
Once the building opened Nov. 1, the company started a phased-in approach to occupying the building with an initial staff of 220 employees.
Why was Tualatin chosen to be the site of the Integrated Operations Center?
PGE put together a project selection committee that included architects and engineers whose job was to determine the best site for the new center. Criteria included site-acquisition risk, site-and-environmental constraints and land-use timelines, plus location and land quality, transportation and disaster risk, and recovery.
“Based on a series of criteria… they chose the site in Tualatin because it earned the highest score from the process,” Payne said.
He added that the facility has been built to withstand a major natural disaster to maintain electricity flow after a major power disruption.
“The IOC was constructed with a technology called ‘base isolation’ that utilizes base isolators beneath the building that will absorb the seismic energy produced by a Cascadia Subduction Zone event,” Payne said. “During the event, the building will sway rather than shake and, consequently, maintain its structural integrity.
“The facility also has redundant utility services (water, electricity, etc.), which will allow it to operate in isolation for about two weeks. The goal in all this is to reduce the amount of time PGE spends taking care of our own operations and provide more time to focus on addressing our customers’ needs.”
The Tualatin-based IOC “is designed to provide a more reliable and resilient system for PGE’s customers by integrating the relevant people, functions and systems into a single facility,” Payne said. “This new facility will also allow us to manage a more efficient, cleaner and more-flexible power grid while also improving resilience in the face of threats to physical, cyber and network operations.”
PGE is a Fortune 1,000 public utility that provides power to nearly half of the electric customers in Oregon.
It aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the company by 2040, according to its website. The utility’s investments in new, clean energy and renewable technologies put it on the right path to accelerate its de-carbonization goals and advance a clean energy future.