Wind farm owners fight BPA shut-downs


Wind farm owners stepped up their fight with the Bonneville Power Administration, asking federal energy regulators to halt the agency’s new policy of curtailing wind generation when it has excess hydroelectric power to sell.

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Wind farm owners stepped up their fight with the Bonneville Power Administration, asking federal energy regulators to halt the agency’s new policy of curtailing wind generation when it has excess hydroelectric power to sell.

Awash in a near-record spring runoff, BPA has been intermittently cutting off scheduled transmission for wind farms in its control area — effectively shutting them down — since May 18.

Wind farm owners say the federal power marketing agency is using its monopoly position in the transmission market to illegally favor its own generation and customers.

The agency sells power from 31 hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin and controls three-quarters of the region’s high-voltage transmission grid. During off-peak hours this spring, the dams have been generating more power than customers in the region need, and BPA has limited flexibility to curtail hydro operations because spilling more water increases dissolved gas in the river to levels that harm fish.

Read more in today’s Oregonian.