Wind energy advocates at the nonprofit Renewable Northwest Project issued a statement last week that hints at a legal fight brewing between the wind industry and hydropower managers. It stems from Bonneville Power Administration’s decision to curtail wind turbines when there’s too much spring runoff in the Columbia River Basin. The rub is that BPA decided not to compensate wind energy producers for lost revenue because it would unfairly raise the cost of electricity for BPA’s ratepayers.
In responding to BPA’s new, temporary policy on electricity over-generation, RNP’s Executive Director Rachel Shimshak said the policy “will invite litigation”:
“While we are sympathetic to the impact of Mother Nature’s generous snow pack this year, we believe that unilaterally curtailing wind projects with no compensation is an unfair and discriminatory solution to the excess generation issue. It is also inconsistent with the Northwest’s future-forward commitment to deploying clean energy resources, and it will invite litigation. We recommend a diversity of cheaper solutions (e.g., displacing coal, responsible additional spill) that would not create uncertainty for future renewable development in the region.”