NW has too much dam power, plans wind power halt

By TIM FOUGHT | May 13, 2011 | 6:58 PM EDT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The manager of most of the electricity in the Pacific Northwest is running such a surplus of power from hydroelectric dams that it put wind farms on notice Friday they may be shut down as early as this weekend.

A cold, wet spring in the headwaters of the Columbia River Basin is sending downstream one of the largest spring flows in years.

The Bonneville Power Administration says it's out of options to store the water, sell the electricity or otherwise handle the flow without creating dangerous conditions for fish in their spring migration.

The order could be a blow to burgeoning Northwest wind farms. Their customers will get power — from the dams. But many wind developments depend on tax credits that provide benefits only if electricity is produced.