While President Obama travels around the United States touting “green energy” as the solution to the nation’s spiraling energy costs, the wind farms of the Pacific Northwest are proving once again that alternative energy sources are having a hard time living up to the praise lavished on them.
According to the UPI, Obama told workers at a truck manufacturing plant in North Carolina: "We've got to develop every source of American energy -- not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels." At the same time, the Bonneville Power Administration — a federal agency — has been shutting down wind turbines for hundreds of hours because demand could not keep up with the supply. An article for FoxNews.com (“Wind farms in Pacific Northwest paid to not produce”) details the decision to further subsidize wind farms which could only be built with federal funds:
The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production.
Demand could not keep up with supply, so BPA shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days.
"It's the one system in the world where in real time, moment to moment, you have to produce as much energy as is being consumed," BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said of the renewable energy.
Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year.
The extra payout means energy users will eventually have to pay more.
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