Spring rise ebbs in NW; wind farms at full output

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- PORTLAND -- The big spring rise in the Columbia River basin has finally washed out to sea.

That means an end to idling wind farms at night or on weekends when the turbines at hydropower dams are producing electricity at full tilt and the region has more power than it can handle.

National Weather Service statistics show the volume of the spring runoff has been bigger than predicted -- it's now ranked third-largest in the past four decades and the largest since 1997.

It was a result of deep mountain snow and a late spring.

The Bonneville Power Administration says the wind energy cutbacks amounted to about 6 percent of the potential output. Wind developers said they shouldn't have been curtailed and have filed a complaint with federal regulators.