Select quotes: Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the wind industry, county officials and conservationists push back on Bonneville Power Administration's irresponsible wind curtailment plan

May 23, 2011

Congressman Earl Blumenauer:

"The actions that the Bonneville Power Administration has undertaken are in direct conflict with the stated renewable goals of the Department of Energy, the Obama Administration, many key energy policy leaders nationally and regionally, and at variance with what we've attempted to do in the Pacific Northwest to grow this industry."

"This action is unnecessarily dividing Northwest utility consumers into winners and losers."

"The Northwest Wind Integration and Action Plan drafted in 2007 outlines what actually should happen. But 50 months later, this action represents an unfortunate failure of political will and imagination."

"The goal should be to keep energy prices as low and equitable as possible for the entire region, not to undercut the development of a priority not just for the Administration but for the region. I'm hopeful cooler heads will prevail and we'll be able to reverse this unfortunate development."

"We need to carry this message back to Washington, to the White House, to the Council on Environmental Quality and to Secretary Chu about the disconnect between BPA's short term actions and the Administration's long-term goals."

Rob Gramlich, Senior Vice President for Public Policy, American Wind Energy Association:

"No one is above the law and no one can break contracts as Bonneville has.Commerce can't exist without contract sanctity. This will have a chilling effect on investment."

"BPA has curtailed over 33,000 MWh of wind energy over the last week, enough to power 160,000 average homes for a week. This week alone, BPA has curtailed enough wind energy to power two-thirds of the homes in Portland for the week."

"There's a better way. Thousands of megawatts of fossil generation are still operating and those could be displaced. Also, it's not technically a surplus if the transmission ties aren't filled – meaning other markets could take the power. It is how the power grid operates in much of the rest of the country and the rest of world.Look at Denmark where they have 20% wind.They use their connections with Norway to sell power or store it behind hydropower dams.There is a lot of potential to do the same thing in this region."

"I think there's a preference for keeping certain types of generation running and to benefit certain customers and not others."

"I believe we will see legal action very soon."

"A lot of actions could have been taken to avoid this situation…these types of situations were foreseen, it's what is always discussed in the Northwest: what's the snowmelt going to look like.So now we have to decide two things, who's going to take the hit for this and how do we solve this long-term."

Pat Ford, Exec Director of Save Our Wild Salmon:

"Bonneville Power is calling this a wind power vs. salmon issue. That is wrong factually and also the wrong approach if the goal is solutions that work for people, salmon, and west coast economies."

"In general, wind generation and salmon restoration are complementary objectives, not competing objectives. The current situation is fundamentally a problem of too much hydro coupled with the state of energy markets - not a wind power problem."

"A solution for salmon can help solve the problem.That solution is more safe "spill," water going over the tops of dams rather than through turbines.Spill is the safest way to get young salmon heading to the ocean past big dams. And by reducing hydro generation some it will ease the over-generation problem."

"BPA's statement that its action is needed to help salmon is not accurate or complete. I will conclude by urging the Obama administration to promptly develop solutions that help salmon, help wind power, boost the jobs that both deliver, and boost the transition to the clean energy future that both people and salmon need, and that is this administration's stated policy."

Mike Canon, Klickitat County, WA Director of Economic Development:

"Klickitat County is one of the rural, economically distressed counties in Washington that have found a tremendous amount of growth and income from these wind energy projects. Dollars from these projects are buying fire trucks, ambulances, fire houses and new schools, projects that touch everyone whether they have a turbine on their property or not."

"Our county is especially concerned at the negative economic impact from this decision that is going to hit families in ways that will change how life had been improving in these hard pressed areas."

Gary Thompson, County Judge, Sherman County, OR:

"The whole problem is lack of communication between the President of the United States and his department heads.The President is pushing renewable energy while his department heads are doing the opposite."

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