River Rises; Northwest Wind Farms, Plants Cut Back
by Tim Fought
The Oregonian, May 18, 2011
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Wind farms and fossil-fuel power plants in the Pacific Northwest were all but shut down for five hours early Wednesday as the Columbia River basin's hydroelectric generators ran at full capacity and river managers dealt with one of the largest volumes of spring runoff in years.
The Bonneville Power Administration said last week such a shutdown was likely and may be repeated overnight Thursday. Wind farm operators have objected.
During the shutdown, from midnight to 5 a.m., almost all Northwest power came from dams.
The Bonneville Power Administration says wind farms and coal and natural-gas plants reduced output to the minimum needed to protect their equipment and the grid. Customers were not affected.
The agency says the water volume is so great that fish trying to get by the dams are in jeopardy from turbulence and nitrogen in the water.
Overgeneration Announcement related to graphic.
To safeguard salmon and steelhead and assure reliable energy delivery during these unusually high seasonal river flows, BPA has taken the following measures, which it took as a last resort and had been working to avoid. BPA will update this site at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
[May 20, 9 a.m.] BPA temporarily limited the energy output of regional generators, including wind generators, from 11 p.m. May 19 until 5 a.m. May 20. During that six hour period, approximately 600 to 1,200 megawatts per hour of wind generation, totaling about 5,300 megawatt hours, were impacted.
[May 19, 3 p.m.] No current limits on generation
[May 19, 9 a.m.] BPA temporarily limited the energy output of regional generators, including wind generators, from 11 p.m. May 18 until 5 a.m. May 19. During that six hour period, slightly less than 1,000 megawatts per hour of wind generation, totaling about 5,700 megawatt hours, were impacted.
[May 18, 3 p.m.] No current limits on generation
[May 18, 9 a.m.] BPA temporarily limited the energy output of regional generators, including wind generators, from midnight until 5 a.m. May 18. Approximately 200-350 megawatts of wind generation per hour, totaling about 1,400 megawatt hours, were impacted.
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