Low gas prices, renewable energy squeeze Bonneville Power Administration
BPA’s hydro and nuclear resources are facing the same pressures as coal plants in other parts of the country: cheap natural gas has made it difficult to compete, while wind and solar comes online amid stagnant demand.
BPA has provided the region’s lowest-cost power for years, up to 28%. But the marketer conceded that “its cost advantage has eroded.” The marketer blamed “persistently low natural gas prices and ever-increasing renewable energy expansion,” while load remains flat.
BPA Administrator and CEO Elliot Mainze said in a statement that the plan will serve as a reference point “for everything we at BPA do over the next five years. It all comes down to our commercial success.”
Four strategic goals have been outlined, including strengthening the balance sheet, modernization, efficiency investments to support competitive products, and standardizing transmission products. BPA wants to standardize and streamline its transmission products, and will also develop a more “flexible, scalable, economical and operationally efficient approach” to meeting customers’ needs.