The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) says there is a smaller chance that oversupply conditions will lead to wind energy curtailment this spring.
Snowmelt runoff during the spring months has led to overgeneration in the Pacific Northwest in previous years, which has caused BPA to curtail large amounts of wind energy generation.
However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in 2011 that BPA unfairly discriminated against wind power in these instances, prompting BPA to consider ways to mitigate oversupply and treat each resource fairly when issuing curtailment orders.
Some of those measures include refining the process for ensuring transmission system reliability and protecting fish when there is too much power for the region to consume, as well as adopting new energy-storage methods.
Now, BPA says the likelihood that oversupply issues will occur this spring is 50%, compared to 65% in 2012. According to the Northwest River Forecast Center, the current water-supply forecast for January through July is 86% of the normal amount. If this forecast holds, the likelihood and expected costs of wind energy displacement could be lower, BPA says. However, BPA warns that this forecast could change at a moment's notice.
BPA says it will continue to monitor forecasts throughout the spring and manage oversupply conditions with the most operationally feasible and cost-effective means available.