Last year, we faced the one of the largest environmental disaster in
our nation’s history: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In many ways, this
tragedy helped renew a conversation about our energy future.
While oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific
Northwest was facing an incredibly stormy spring; lots of wind and rain led to
a surplus of energy from both hydroelectric dams and wind turbines. The
same situation is playing out this year to an even larger extent, due to
another wet spring and a snowpack that’s well above average.
Yet, instead of using last spring’s abundance of power as an
opportunity to expand and diversify the Northwest’s economy and clean energy
portfolio, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) – which manages much of
the Northwest’s energy transmission – opted instead to undertake a protocol where, in times of
high wind and high water, BPA shuts off wind turbines as a way to reduce
surplus power on the region’s grid. By putting wind power on the chopping block,
BPA is shielding dam energy at the expense of clean energy jobs.
BPA has now implemented this “over-generation” strategy and
has begun shutting down wind – a move that harms Northwest renewable energy
development and the good jobs that go with it.
TAKE ACTION BELOW: Urge Secretary Chu and the U.S. Senate to
change BPA’s current course.
Please provide more oversight of the Bonneville Power Administration.
Dear [Decision Maker],
I write to you today seeking better oversight from the Department of Energy of the Bonneville Power Administration's policies on energy and salmon. It has been a year since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill gripped our nation, renewing a conversation about America's energy future. Fortunately there are several regions in America, including the Pacific Northwest, that are blessed with abundant clean energy and energy conservation opportunities.While oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Northwest was facing an incredibly stormy spring; lots of wind and rain led to a surplus of energy from both hydroelectric dams and wind turbines. The same situation is playing out this year as well to an even greater extent.Unfortunately, the region's lead energy manager, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), is using salmon as an excuse to shut off wind energy production as a way to address "over-generation" of electricity during periods of high water and high wind. BPA is claiming legal constraints for salmon compel the agency to curtail wind power production while keeping the dams running. Such a policy undermines renewable energy generation -- and the jobs this industry provides -- and is harmful to ocean-bound juvenile salmon. The agency has had years to prepare for these types of over-generation scenarios by improving the power grid to accommodate the booming production of wind and other renewable energy and finding ways to store that power. Instead, BPA has dragged its feet in preference for the higher revenues associated with hydropower. The idea that salmon are somehow to blame for their failure to plan is disingenuous at best.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]