Bonneville Power calls for first wind shutdown of the season
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
With high-water season back, Bonneville Power Administration made its first curtailment order over the weekend, requiring wind energy operators to power down.
Bonneville Power Administration ordered the temporary shutdown of wind farms in its system for a few hours early Sunday morning and again early Monday morning, marking the first time this year that the controversial practice has been tapped.
Bonneville calls for wind "curtailment" when periods of low electricity demand coincides with periods of strong wind and high water, which put more power on the grid than the system needs.
In all 10,100 megawatt hours of wind energy was curtailed over the two-day. Under new protocol filed by BPA to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this year, the wind energy operators will receive some compensation for the lost generation revenue.
Wind energy operators were forced to curtail 97,557 megawatt hours of wind power last year in a season of high water that started with the first curtailment order last May 18th.
"While it was unfortunate we had to do it at all, we have some consolation that we've been able to delay it as long as we have," said Michael Milstein, a spokesman for BPA.
Current predictions show a spring runoff that is 118 percent higher than normal, he said. But he added that the administration's marketing department has been working to find new markets for excess power.
Wind energy advocates however remain unhappy with the current policy that allows for curtailment orders
"Given a full year to plan ahead, we are disappointed that BPA is choosing to curtail wind energy despite more equitable solutions within reach. This practice wastes clean and affordable energy while power plants continue to burn coal around the region," said Rachel Shimshak, executive director of Renewable Northwest Project, in a statement.
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