[Server-sky] [ExI] Power sats again

Charles Radley cfrjlr at gmail.com
Tue Jul 16 14:40:04 UTC 2013

On 7/16/2013 12:33 AM, Michael Turner wrote:
>> [....]  Here in the Pacific Northwest, power produced at
>> times of low demand (say 2200 to 0600) can have negative value;
>> the Bonneville Power Administration pays money to dispose of wind
>> power produced at these times in resistors in the desert, to avoid
>> spilling water over the dams and supernitrogenating the water,
>> damaging the salmon.
> Somebody should go out to that point in the desert and sneak in a more
> valuable resistive load: obsolete Bitcoin mining rigs. ;-)

I expect BPA would be happy to sell the power to you, but  can you 
figure out a way of making a profit at i?.  Keep in mind that there are 
only a few days per year when the cost of power goes negative ...so most 
of the time your desert Bitcoin plant will be sitting idle, it would be 
difficult to finance such a venture.

> News to me: if I'm interpreting this correctly, it makes financial
> sense to keep the blades turning and the generators engaged than to
> simply stop the wind turbines, at times when hydro is the cheaper
> source. I'm dumbfounded. Is this grounded in mechanical engineering,
> subsidy policy, or perhaps a combination of the two? Maybe off-topic,
> but perhaps not irrelevant to SSP reception.

Michael, this was the result of a huge lawsuit, BPA fought it at FERC 
and lost.

The issue was that the capital investors who paid for the investment in 
the wind turbines insisted that BPA buy  100% of the power from the wind 
turbines, this was the only way that the business plan for the wind 
turbines could make a profit.

BPA argued that this was unreasonable,  however, in 2011 the FERC ruled 
against BPA and forced them to buy all the wind power even when there 
was not enough demand for it.   BPA wanted the right to turn off the 
wind turbines, but FERC ruled that BPA does not have the right to do that.

In effect, the wind power investors were able to force BPA to subsidize 
their investment.

That is the situation we are left in today.

Here is some background info:


Here is the BPA web site with all the history....


Here is a copy of the complaint the wind energy generators filed against 


Here is BPA's response to the complaint:


Here is the order by FERC upholding the complaint against BPA:



Charles F Radley
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