NW wind farms seek end to springtime shutdowns

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Northwest wind farm owners want federal regulators to tell the region's main utility to quit shutting them down at night.

Five companies said Monday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should rule the Bonneville Power Administration has broken their contracts and discriminated against them.

For the last month as the Columbia River has run high with snowmelt, the BPA has intermittently curtailed transmission from wind farms.

Customers haven't lost electricity. The BPA, a federal agency, substitutes some of its abundant hydropower for the wind power. Bonneville says the swap helps protect threatened Columbia River fish.

But when the wind turbines aren't generating power, their owners can lose millions in benefits from state and federal incentives. The wind farms say the BPA has transmission options available but won't use them.