Five companies file claim against Bonneville Power in wind dispute
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Bonneville Power Administration is under fire from the renewable energy community for requiring wind turbines to power down.
A coalition of five companies filed a claim with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Monday, charging the Bonneville Power Administration with violating the Federal Power Act by requiring wind farms to shut down operations. The claim cites decades of regulatory policy as grounds to get more than 2,000 wind turbines back on the grid.
Iberdrola Renewables, PacifiCorp, NextEra Energy Resources, Horizon Wind Energy and Invenergy Wind North America are parties to the filing. Collectively, they have invested more than $6 billion in renewable energy generation in the Pacific Northwest. The American Wind Energy Association also filed comments in support.
Their filing charges that Bonneville Power, which owns approximately 75 percent of the transmission system in its balancing authority, used that authority to craft policies that benefit its own hydropower generation while breaking contracts with wind power companies to benefit its own business.
“We have no choice but to pursue legal redress,” Don Furman, senior vice president of external affairs at Iberdrola Renewables, said in an interview last week. “We’ve worked really hard with Bonneville and I think everybody understands that we’re at an impasse and we’re going to have to let someone else resolve it.”
In a statement Monday, Furman charged BPA with discriminating against wind power generators and called its policy an egregious example of BPA’s choosing not to play by rules that apply to other transmission providers.
The filing is the first in what will likely become a three-pronged legal strategy against BPA by wind companies and utilities eager to push back against its recent decision to curtail wind power in the Northwest.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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