Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Congressman to BPA: Turn Wind Farms Back On

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM

An Oregon congressman and wind energy industry officials lashed out at the Bonneville Power Administration Monday, calling on the energy giant to "fix problems" that have forced the shut-off of Northwest wind generators. The complaints were lodged by Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer and a spokesman from the American Wind Energy Association at a wind energy conference in California.

A high spring runoff from a robust snowpack has resulted in the region's hydroelectric dams filling the power grid. Consequently, BPA asked wind and fossil fuel-powered generators to shut down.

"The reality is that when both these power sources are being fueled by nature, we can't always control the volume we get out of it," said Bonneville spokesman Michael Milstein.

But Blumenauer said the shut-offs are costing wind power generators millions of dollars "at a time when they need help attracting investment to keep growing."

"There's a disconnect between Bonneville's short-term actions and the Obama administration's long-term stated goals," said Blumenauer.

Meanwhile, a hearing examiner granted a conditional use permit to construct yet another wind farm in the region, this time on the Palouse. A group calling itself the Palouse Wind Project said a planned wind farm in northeastern Whitman County, Wash., would have a potential generating capacity of 100 megawatts, enough to power 25,000 homes.

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