Power Struggle (Literally) in the Pacific Northwest

The Economist reports "a case of favoritism towards electricity generated by federal dams" in the Columbia River basin, a stretch of land that encompasses Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, and western Montana.

As a nonprofit agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) sells electricity generated by 31 federal dams in the Pacific Northwest.

Last month, the company "took all the region's wind turbines offline for about five hours and it expects to continue to pull the plug on them for a few hours almost every night until well into July, when enough snow in the Cascades and northern Rockies will have melted for the excess run-off (and therefore the excess power) to subside."

This radical course of action, in turn, triggered a litany of formal complaints from the wind power companies that spent upward of $100 million on wind turbines to serve the region's electricity needs.

"[T]he wind lobby is howling about government perfidy," The Economist reports.

Full Story: Renewable energy in the north-west


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