In a major victory for the wind industry in December, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc) gave BPA just 90 days to act.
BPA, which oversees transmission and markets hydro power in the north-western US, curtailed wind power in the spring of 2011 during excess snow melt that led to too much hydro power.
The region’s wind operators, which petitioned Ferc, argued BPA was singling out wind and breaking contracts.
Although free hydropower was substituted for the curtailed power, wind-project operators were not able to sell renewable energy credits (RECs) and could not claim the production tax credit (PTC), which only accrues when electricity is generated.
Wind power, they said, had become devalued and was no longer a guaranteed product. The region’s future wind development could be hampered, they said.
The wind companies’ immediate losses amounted to $10 million, the regional advocacy group Renewable Northwest Project estimated.
Several wind operators separately sued BPA for alleged breach of contract. Negotiations are under way to settle the suits.
"We support the continuation and acceleration of ongoing informal settlement discussions with affected parties," said BPA Administrator Steve Wright.