On the last day of June, 2008, a surge of wind power caused a spike in the Northwest power grid, making the Bonneville Power Administration realize it could not handle such surges without spilling water that could be potentially dangerous to Columbia River salmon.
The BPA was “caught off guard” when an unexpected increase in wind power overloaded the regional grid. The Bonneville dam compensated by spilling water, keeping it from the hydropower generators. Generally, water is spilled to help juvenile salmon make their way downriver; however, excessive nitrogen, created when water plunging from the dams into the river becomes saturated with air (which is composed of 78% nitrogen), can be harmful to salmon. In this instance the BPA claimed the spill was not heavy enough to damage fish. [Read More...]