Agency, again, orders Bonneville to reexamine pricing plan

The Bonneville Power Administration wanted guidance on a cost-sharing plan related to oversupply.

The Bonneville Power Administration wanted guidance on a cost-sharing plan related to oversupply.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has upheld a ruling that would require the Bonneville Power Administration to recast the way it deals with wind farms during periods of power oversupply.

The Commission for the second time upheld its 18-month old ruling that deemed BPA discriminated against wind power producers by requiring the wind farms to power down during times when high water runoff caused an oversupply of power.

At issue is whether BPA has crafted a fair cost-sharing plan for compensating wind power operators that need to temporarily halt operations.

Such companies with wind interests as PacifiCorp, Iberdrola Renewables, NextEra Energy Resources, Invenergy Wind North America and Horizon Wind Energy had filed te original complaint against BPA in June 2011. BPA was asked to come up with a plan for handling oversupply when excess water due to snowmelt overwhelms the grid with hydropower production.

Cameron Yourkowski, a senior policy manager with the Portland-based Renewable Northwest Project, said his group is pleased with FERC’s decision to uphold its ruling.

“Open access transmission policy was established to ensure competitive electricity markets for the benefit of consumers,” he said. ““This most recent decision signals that the Commission will take a hard look at the rates and policies BPA puts in place to accommodate oversupply conditions and provides motivation for all parties to develop a durable solution.”

BPA officials didn’t immediately return a request for comments.

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