From The Oregonian, “BPA, wind developers argue over looming problem of too much power from renewables.”
In sum: “The BPA has backed away from formally implementing the wind-curtailment plan, a move that renewables advocates applauded. But it hasn’t come up with an alternative. ”
The looming problem involves moments on the Bonneville Power System in which the combination of hydropower production and wind power production (along with a little nuclear power) is well in excess of consumer load and the ability to ship power out. BPA wants to tell wind operators to shut down in exchange for essentially free BPA power, and wind operators – who face the loss of production tax credit subsidies and other renewable energy payments say free isn’t enough. Wind operators want to be paid to back off of the system to compensate for the loss of these other income streams.
In short, the wind operators need a market-price system to ration the moments of excess supply in order to preserve at least some of the benefits of the non-energy price side payments they earn through production tax credits and renewable energy credits. A market-price system for coordinating supply would let the wholesale energy price go negative, essentially requiring generators to pay to deliver power to the system. BPA resists the idea of paying people to take its power, particularly when they must run the system to meet environmental or other requirements.
By the way, much of the boom in wind power development in Washington and Oregon is fostered by demand from California utilities seeking to comply with their state renewable portfolio standard obligation.
Related, from bloggers at Forbes.com:
- Grid problems trigger rolling wind-farm outages in Pacific Northwest
- Grid operators drop plan for rolling wind-farm outages
- Record snowfall to bring lower natural gas prices