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Re: “Congressman to BPA: Turn Wind Farms Back On

A decade ago, many would posit that wind power could not replace the benefits of the four lower Snake River dams: Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental and Ice Harbor. As it turns, this is half true. Wind power can replace only some of the benefits. In selecting replacement resources, one need consider what together, these southeastern Washington dams provide:

the energy, 1100 amW
capacity, 3,500 MW
capacity utilization, 32 %
real-time load following,
stability reserves,
and reactive support.

The current wind power within BPA's grid meets the first three requirements but not the second three. Of note is Tom Karier's recent testimony to the Congressional Subcommittee on Water and Power:

"The lower Snake River dams provide 1,110 average megawatts of energy under average water conditions, about 5 percent of regional annual electric energy needs. In addition, the dams provide 3,500 megawatts of short-term capacity, a little more than 10 percent of the total hydroelectric system capacity, and as part of the Automated Generation Control (AGC) System, they provide system reserves to maintain the reliability of the power supply. They also provide reactive support for the stability of the transmission system."

The effects of removing the capability of the lower Snake River dams are mainly determined by the replacement resources that would be required for the power system to duplicate the energy, capacity, real-time load following, stability reserves and reactive support currently provided by the dams. ..." (more at

Posted by redfishbluefish on 05/24/2011 at 7:13 PM

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