A Surplus Of Clean Energy  

Posted by Big Gav

The Oregonian reports that the Pacific Northwest of the US has more clean energy than it knows what to do with at the moment. Sounds like increasing the size of the interconnectors south would be a good idea.

The Northwest is awash in electric power this spring. Rivers are swollen. Columbia River dams are running full bore. Wind farm blades are spinning.

That should be good news for the Northwest, where hydropower is cheap and wind is a leader in renewable energy. And it should be good news for California, a huge electricity consumer that often sucks up Oregon's springtime surplus.

But a doubling of wind-power supplies and an unusually concentrated surge in water levels have challenged this season's power operations like never before. "You throw a spiky late runoff into the equation, and a little extra wind, and it definitely gets interesting," said Kieran Connolly, a power manager for Bonneville Power Administration.

The result: wasted power generation, excessive spill through the dams and a sometimes frenzied juggling of dam and transmission schedules. High water levels benefit power supplies and migrating fish, but the levels in recent weeks have been too much of a good thing.

Oregon and Washington can't use all the electricity that's available. And southbound transmission lines that are at capacity can't take the extra power California consumers otherwise would eagerly devour.

In some cases, power producers are paying customers to take electricity off thei hands.

1 comments

This one is getting a little run at Digg, so help it along if you feel inclined :

http://digg.com/environment/Pacific_NW_Too_Good_Exceeds_Demand_for_Renewable_Energy/who

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