Monthly Archives: April 2012

BPA orders NW wind farms to curtail production

By Steven DuBois
Seattle Times

PORTLAND, Ore. —

The Bonneville Power Administration twice ordered Pacific Northwest wind farms to cut production in recent days because it has a surplus of power from hydroelectric dams.

The agency, which manages much of the power grid in the Northwest, confirmed it issued the orders during the early morning hours of Sunday and Monday, when demand is low.

The action rekindles a dispute from last year, when the agency curtailed wind turbines because the water from a large mountain snowpack left the region with more hydropower than the electrical grid could handle. Read more

 

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Fisheries scientists redefine the salmon debate by trumpeting more ‘spill’

By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman

Increasing the amount of water spilled over eight Snake and Columbia river dams to keep juvenile fish away from hydroelectric turbines might be enough to recover most of Idaho’s endangered salmon populations without breaching dams, new studies suggest.

A state, tribal and federal science team that has been working since 1996 is urging federal fish and wildlife officials and dam managers to change their management to test the theory, which is based on a dramatic increase in data collected over the past decade.

“The fish are talking to us and we’re getting better at listening to what they’re telling us,” said Ed Bowles, chief of fisheries for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Read more

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PUD expects $5 million gain from switch to Canadian power trader

By Christine Pratt
Wenatchee World

WENATCHEE — Would you like a little maple syrup to go with that sale of Chelan County PUD electricity?

The PUD in June will begin selling power through a trading company owned by the Canadian government for an expected annual gain of about $5 million.

PUD General Manager John Janney announced to commissioners Monday that starting June 1, the PUD is contracting with Powerex, a subsidiary of the British Columbia-owned utility BC Hydro, which operates Canada’s big Columbia River dams and reservoirs. Powerex does all the trading.

According to the five-year deal, Powerex will pay for access to the PUD’s daily trading system and will help balance hourly changes in generation needed to cover the planned demand of Chelan County residents, Gregg Carrington, the PUD’s managing director of energy resources said Wednesday. Read more

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Research aims to keep invasive mussels at bay in Columbia

By Eric Florip
The Columbian

Invasive freshwater mussels so far haven’t found a foothold in the Columbia River. That doesn’t mean regional hydropower managers and researchers are sitting idle, waiting for them to show up.

A research project under way at the Port of Camas-Washougal aims to make sure the Northwest is better prepared if — or when — the tiny mollusks do arrive.

“They’re not here yet,” said Mark Sytsma, a Portland State University environmental sciences professor. “That we know of.”

Fast-breeding quagga and zebra mussels have a known track record of causing costly problems elsewhere, notably in the Great Lakes and, more recently, in Lake Mead at the Nevada-Arizona border. They’ve encrusted dam structures, clogged pipes and crowded out other wildlife, requiring millions of dollars in management and mitigation efforts. Read more

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Seattle firm tests hydropower unit in Roza Canal

By David Lester
Yakima Herald

SELAH, Wash. — A Seattle startup is using a Valley irrigation canal to test a hydropower technology it hopes will have worldwide application.

Hydrovolts Inc. has a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to test the 7.5-kilowatt turbine for the first time in the Roza Canal, north of here.

While one unit can power only about three homes, the possibility exists to link numerous turbines together, according to Burt Hamner, the company’s chief executive officer. Read more

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