Sunday, July 8, 2012
On July 1 and 2, between the hours of about midnight and 8 a.m., the Bonneville Power Administration, acting in its capacity as balancing authority for the main Pacific Northwest electrical grid, noted that nobody in the entire Western United States was willing to use excess electricity, even if it were offered for free, and so issued an oversupply mitigation warning that shut down the windmills.
Please be informed that this warning had no effect whatsoever on the amount of electricity - ie., zero - being sent to the grid by windmills in the Pomeroy, Dayton, Walla Walla and Pasco areas; there was no wind in those areas during those hours, and all of Iberdrola's lawyers' protestations to the contrary cannot override Mother Nature's rule that no-wind equals no-electricity.
Please also observe that, in issuing this warning, BPA was not acting in its capacity as owner of the powerlines supplying electricity to the grid. Immediately following the hours of the shutdown, the amount of power flowing to the grid through BPA's powerlines was vastly greater than during the shutdown hours; so, obviously, there was more than enough room on the powerlines and the shutdown was necessary for the sole reason that nobody wanted the electricity.
If recent history is any indication, three things will happen in the near future. First, Iberdrola will weep crocodile tears at the unfairness of giving priority grid access to hydropower over wind.
Second, BPA will nod wisely at having carefully planned for this emergency, and will shell out obscene bundles of your money to keep Iberdrola quiet.
Third, Pacific Power will apply yet again for a rate increase to cover the costs of building windmills where the wind does not blow.
Dear citizens of Southeastern Washington: you have been had.