Wind industry demands NW grid overload solution

By JEFF BARNARD | May 23, 2011 | 5:45 PM EDT

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The wind energy industry is demanding the Bonneville Power Administration fix problems that have forced the shut-off of Northwest wind generators while hydroelectric dams fill the grid with power produced from a heavy spring runoff.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon joined the American Wind Energy Association and others Monday in accusing Bonneville of discriminating against wind power at a time it needs help to expand, and failing to adopt strategies identified in a 2007 report on integrating wind power into the Northwest energy grid.

Bonneville spokesman Michael Milstein (MIL-steen) says wind power is the last generating source they turn off during times of excess power, and the dams are already spilling so much water they are exceeding standards for toxic gases that harm salmon.