Wind & Salmon Connection - Press Releases

Below is a statement from Pat Ford RE: the Dec. 20 FERC ruling concerning BPA’s “environmental redispatch” policy implemented in the last 2 years during spring, affecting Columbia/Snake River salmon survival, spill levels at the federal dams, and wind energy production.


FERC’s ruling can be found here:





Today’s ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) means that the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) policy on wind power cut-offs each spring must be revisited.  We want to suggest a “shared solution” approach.


Save Our wild Salmon intervened in the FERC proceeding last year because wild salmon are affected by any actions taken when Northwest dams and wind projects together produce more energy than the region needs.  In our filing, we rebutted BPA’s inaccurate claim that it had to cut off wind projects to avoid harming salmon.  But the issue now, given FERC’s ruling, is how do BPA and the Northwest create a policy that is lawful, balanced, and, to the maximum extent possible, a win-win?


Salmon fishermen and conservation groups believe shared solutions can be found if the affected parties are all involved in developing it.  Salmon recovery, clean, reliable energy and affordable power rates are compatible objectives.  Northwest people want solutions that reflect this fact.  Our members want to be part of a joint effort to find those solutions.  


Northwest people and federal agencies will not reach good solutions if we keep treating salmon, energy and economic policy as separate matters.  They are not separate.  A process that brings people together to seek solutions to the spring over-generation of energy is the best way forward.  We can develop a better policy in time for this coming spring if we start now.

Protest Filed with FERC

Today, Save Our wild Salmon and four other fishing or conservation groups submitted comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) opposing BPA’s so-called “oversupply management protocol.” Read our previous statement on this issue pointing out the absence of any biological basis for this policy.  Since the odds are high that over-supply episodes will occur again this April, May and/or June, we have asked FERC to rule on BPA’s policy as quickly as possible.  If FERC promptly rejects BPA’s policy, a better policy for both salmon and wind generation could still be put in place.

We additionally have to ask: if this issue is truly about protecting endangered salmon, why is the Protocol limited to paying wind generators and displacing “thermal” resources only in BPA’s control area? Shouldn’t BPA be looking outside of its control area for more ways to reduce spill if the overriding concern in this matter is protecting fish? The fact that BPA is unwilling to do so demonstrates yet again that, when push comes to shove, this is a spending issue for BPA, not a fish issue.


BPA policy fails clean energy and salmon, ignores practical solutions

Portland, OR-- Today, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) filed its Oversupply Management Protocol with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a policy for possible oversupply of power during high water conditions.  BPA’s policy ignores practical solutions at its disposal that would simultaneously improve salmon migration, expand clean energy, and keep power rates affordable. The policy also runs counter to national priorities of the Obama Administration and sets the stage for continued and needless regional acrimony.

Save Our wild Salmon (SOS) remains frustrated that BPA contiues to use salmon as an excuse for policy decisions regarding wind power curtailments, despite a lack of scientific evidence to support its claims. The Oversupply Management Protocol is premised largely on BPA’s contention that legal constraints for salmon prevent it from spilling water at certain times. This policy instead appears to be primarily based on economics and not the biological needs of Columbia and Snake River salmon.


For Immediate Release: Feb 14, 2012

Salmon and Wind Power Advocates Frustrated with BPA Proposal

Portland, OR-- Save Our wild Salmon is disappointed in BPA’s draft proposal regarding policy on wind curtailments, to be publicly presented today in Portland. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) continues to use salmon as an excuse for policy decisions regarding wind power cut-offs, despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting their claim.

BPA’s draft proposal fails to include two policy measures SOS has recommended that would help salmon and also help avoid unnecessary cut-offs of wind power. First, it does not include our recommendation that BPA use daily biological monitoring of migrating salmon, with more reliance on state and Tribal fish managers who track that monitoring, to decide case-by-case response at specific dams if and as problems arise. Such an approach would be better for salmon, and wind power, instead of a blanket policy regardless of whether the problem actually exists or not.


FERC Supports Wind Energy, Salmon in Bonneville Power Dispute, OR—Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling on the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) “Environmental Redispatch and No Negative Pricing Policy.” The ruling finds BPA’s curtailment of wind industry access to the power grid during periods of over-generation discriminatory. BPA had cited salmon protections as its motive for the policy. Download the ruling.

When high water levels yielded an excess of hydroelectric energy on the BPA system last spring, BPA opted to shut off wind power rather than spill water over the hydroelectric dams. Reasons for this were varied, but BPA blamed Clean Water Act standards for fish for its decision. But in a report issued by Save Our wild Salmon this fall, analysis showed that increased gas levels in the rivers this year had little impact on migrating salmon. Save Our wild Salmon filed as intervenors in the wind industry’s FERC filing.


Data Fails to Support BPA Wind Policy Decision for “Protecting Salmon”

Salmon Suffer Little Harm from High Gas Levels

Portland, OR – In a new report released today, salmon advocates present biological data showing that Columbia and Snake River salmon populations were largely unharmed by this spring’s unusually high water and dissolved gas levels. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) used “protecting salmon” as its rationale for repeated shut-offs of Northwest wind power projects’ access to the power grid over nearly two months.  The report concludes BPA’s policy did little to nothing to protect salmon.

The report, issued by the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, summarizes the real-time biological monitoring of ocean-bound salmon that occurred this spring and summer.  That monitoring detected extremely small negative effects of high gas levels and spill on salmon.


Save Our wild Salmon is a diverse, nationwide coalition working together to restore wild salmon and steelhead to the rivers, streams and marine waters of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of our region's ecology, economy and culture.




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