Frustrated owners of wind generation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest are complaining to federal regulators about a Bonneville Power Administration
policy that curtails their operations in times of low demand.
The largest Northwest snowpack since 1997 has boosted river
levels and hydro output there, complicating growing competition
between hydro and wind interests in the region where Bonneville
operates the lion’s share of the high-voltage power network.
Since mid-May, BPA has curtailed wind and other generation
on a daily basis so it can increase hydropower output to
protect salmon and other fish, the agency has said.
But wind generators say the practice of curtailing without
compensation is an unfair use of Bonneville’s grid, costing
generators lost income and in the future discouraging
development of renewable power resources in the region.
Owners of nearly 2,000 megawatts of wind capacity in the
region planned to file a complaint on Monday with the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission asking regulators to order that
Bonneville revise its curtailment practices.
The generators include Iberdrola Renewables (IBE.MC), a
Portland, Oregon-based unit of Spain’s largest utility, and
PacifiCorp, a unit of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co, the two
They said the group also included Horizon Wind Energy, a
unit of EDP Renewables (EDP.LS), Portugal’s largest utility;
NextEra Energy Co (NEE.N), and Invenergy.
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