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Oregon: Water and Electric Board sues over wind power

The utility has too much power and wants to limit how much it buys from a wind farm

Christian Wihtol — The Register-Guard — November 30, 2013

A decade after eagerly signing a long-term contract to buy power from an Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington wind farm, the Eugene Water & Electric Board is now suing to try to limit how much energy it must buy from the farm, the largest in the Pacific Northwest.

The move comes as EWEB wallows in excess power, some of which it has to sell at a loss.

The utility’s Eugene customers use about 285 average megawatts, leaving EWEB with another 80 average megawatts that it sells on what an EWEB spokesman calls “terrible” markets that are awash in superfluous power.

Seeking to curb how much power it must buy from the Stateline Wind Project in Umatilla and Walla Walla counties, the utility earlier this month sued J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp., a branch of New York-based J.P. Morgan, which owns the contract requiring EWEB to buy power from Stateline through 2026.

In the lawsuit, EWEB claims J.P. Morgan is violating the contract by trying to require EWEB to buy power that J.P. Morgan obtains elsewhere, rather than from the wind farm. EWEB also argues that J.P. Morgan is trying to require EWEB to accept power from the wind farm on an interruptible, or “nonfirm” basis, rather than on a guaranteed, or “firm” basis.

EWEB says its contract to buy power from the wind farm requires the power to be provided on a “firm” basis that is guaranteed not to be interrupted. Guaranteed or “firm” power is generally more desirable than interruptible power because it is predictable and utilities can plan power purchases and sales around it.  Read full article here……

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