Articles filed under Energy Policy from Oregon

The future of wind development

"While we understand the board had a difficult decision to make, we are disappointed in the outcomes and the process," she said. "The impacts of the code amendment will vary from project to project but overall I can anticipate less economic development in the county from renewable energy development."
2 Jul 2011

The challenges of managing too much wind power

We have begun to pay developers to build generation irrespective of an electrical need for the generation. This only worsens the electric generation imbalance ...replacing wind generation with hydropower, while keeping the power system in balance, does not keep the financial incentives in balance.
27 May 2011

Don't stick ratepayers when green power fails

Tax breaks to encourage wind power are only justified -- if they're justified at all -- when renewable energy replaces electricity produced by a dirtier source. ...With so much water in the rivers, BPA's only alternative would have been to curtail hydroelectric production to make room on the transmission system for wind power.
24 May 2011

BPA's wind power cutoff sends a troubling signal

BPA will likely be tied up in court over wind power -- a bad outcome when we need more momentum for renewable energy development. We need a fresh look by our political leadership at federal and state incentives that got all the wind developments here in the first place -- production tax credits and renewable energy credits can account for as much as 50 percent of a wind farm's revenues.
20 May 2011

River rises; Northwest wind farms, plants cut back

For five hours Wednesday the Pacific Northwest was running green, almost all of its electricity coming from hydroelectric dams ...But it could also be a blow to the region's burgeoning wind industry. The Bonneville Power Administration followed through on a plan to shut down most of the region's power generation except that from dams now running at full capacity.
18 May 2011

Northwest electricity manager warns wind farms that power surplus may force them to shut down

The Bonneville Power Administration has more than enough electricity during a cold, wet spring that has created a big surge in river flows where hydroelectric dams are located. The agency responded by announcing its intentions to curtail wind power until the grid has more capacity, in a move likely to cost the industry millions of dollars.
13 May 2011

Northwest wind power to double but inconsistency creates grid nightmare

Even the lower end of the range -- which assumes no development for California -- is a substantial amount of power, and would exacerbate transmission issues and volatility in wholesale power prices. Wind development has already outstripped growth in regional demand. And an already clogged transmission system means the energy generated can't always be exported.
6 May 2011

Calif. rule may stunt Oregon clean energy market

"All this makes this whole situation so gray. And if you're a business trying to decide whether you should invest half a billion dollars in a wind farm in Oregon or Washington, or Montana for that matter, your financial folks are going to be pretty scared," said John Audley, deputy director of the Renewable Northwest Project.
20 Jan 2011

Power rate hikes add insult to economic injury

What's the attraction of these Rube Goldberg power networks, and why are they preferred over reliable and proven energy sources? The answer is simple, really. They are "renewable." Never mind that they require huge subsidies from customers and the federal and state governments. And never mind that when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining, they are little more than oversized lawn ornaments.
31 Dec 2010

Rates set to jump for Pacific Power, PGE customers in January

Customers of Pacific Power will see their electric rates spike 14.5 percent in January. The increase comes in a one-two punch: an 8.4 percent general rate increase state utility regulators approved Friday, and a 6.1 percent increase for increased power costs they are expected to approve Dec. 28. Both take effect Jan. 1. ...The biggest factor driving the increases: renewable power.
18 Dec 2010

Analyzing the 'California effect' on the Northwest's wind power boom

"California is a very big variable," said Elliot Mainzer, who is Bonneville Power Administration's guru on how to balance future energy and environmental needs here in the Northwest. When asked if he thought California was carrying its weight as far as managing those type of issues, he said "I would like to see California pay a little bit more attention to our issues, quite frankly."
18 Dec 2010

Breaking Out of the Wind Ghetto

The same storms also brought wind. Bonneville has added 5,000 megawatts of wind power in the last few years, and it is mostly concentrated in the Columbia River Gorge in what is known as the "wind ghetto." As a result, at any given moment, almost all of the wind machines in Bonneville's territory are either running or not running. In June, they were running.
23 Sep 2010

Too much of a good thing: Growth in wind power makes life difficult for grid managers

When the wind blows harder than forecast, they can't bypass the dam turbines to lower hydro generation, because dumping too much water over the spillways harms fish. So the other option is to cut generation at the wind farms. Too many curtailments, however, undermines the economics of wind, not only because turbines generate less power to sell but because valuable tax and renewable energy credits are only generated when their blades are spinning.
18 Jul 2010
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