Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BPA Drops the Ball on Wind Power

With a record snowpack and a wetter than usual spring, the Columbia River is flush with runoff and rather than spilling more water over the dams, the Bonneville Power Administration is unilaterally breaking contracts with wind power generators to avoid generating more power than the system can carry. The BPA argues that they are legally bound to limiting spill in order to maintain dissolved oxygen levels at 115 percent saturation. High gas saturation below dam spill ways can harm juvenile salmon causing gas bubble disease among other physiologically damaging reprocussions, however short duration exposure to 120 percent concentration is not thought to harm salmon and Oregon recently increased their water quality standard to 120% to allow more water to be spilled. More spill helps pass juvenile salmon downstream quickly through the hydrosystem and would keep wind turbines generating electricity, a win win for NW salmon and green energy. More information in the Seattle Times:

Read a guest editorial in the Times:

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