Bonneville Power Administration Proposes to
by Ted Sickinger
The Bonneville Power Administration proposed Tuesday to cover half the cost of wind farms' lost revenue when it curtails their output because too much hydropower already is being generated in the region.
BPA's proposal is the latest bid to end a dispute that began last spring. At the time, the federal power marketing agency dealt with a huge runoff and resulting surge in power production by cutting off wind farms' transmission and substituting free hydropower to satisfy their scheduled energy deliveries.
Advocates of renewable energy said Tuesday the cost-sharing proposal is intriguing. But they are still at loggerheads on a bigger issue: BPA's willingness to play by federal transmission rules and treat every customer on its system the same.
Federal regulators have told BPA to submit a nondiscriminatory transmission tariff by March 6. The power marketing agency plays by its own statutory rules today, and many are loath to see it submit to federal jurisdiction as they feel that represents a loss of regional control over the Columbia River hydro system.
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