BPA makes public wind forecast

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has made public its three-day wind forecast. BPA decided May 13 to limit output from wind and other non-hydropower resources as a response to high seasonal river flows and hydroelectric generation in the Pacific Northwest.

BPA opted to make its forecast available to “help support the integration of rapidly growing amounts of wind power into the Northwest grid,” according to a BPA press release.

Wind energy leaders criticized BPA’s decision to limit wind power in comments made at the Windpower 2011 Conference and Exhibition on May 23. Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said BPA’s actions 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.”

Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said that in limiting its wind energy generation, BPA is violating its contract and “doing so at the expense of an industry that is just now scaling up to size.”

BPA has connected more than 3,500 MW of wind power to its transmission system. BPA also has agreements with wind developers that will increase the wind generation connected to its system to more than 6,000 MW by 2013.

The wind forecast shows anticipated wind generation in BPA’s system for each hour over the next three days, based on weather models. It also shows the minimum and maximum wind generation expected each hour during the same three days. The forecast is updated each hour and posted publicly 20 minutes after the hour. In addition, hourly forecasts for the previous seven days are available in data files. BPA also has a display for wind speed and direction for the previous three hours at BPA-maintained meteorological sites. For additional wind information, click here.

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