Increasing use by utilities of the California-Oregon Intertie to bring Northwest wind power into California is displacing hydropower. Wind power \u201cis loading up the ties,\u201d said Stephanie McCorkle, California Independent System Operator spokesperson. \u201cIt\u2019s must-take generation.\u201d McCorkle noted that reduced demand for power in California\u2014due to a poor economy and greater energy efficiency\u2014may be prompting utilities to further trim their reliance on Northwest hydropower. As a result, Bonneville Power Administration got caught with surplus hydropower last spring that it had to give away in the Northwest because it could not be economically transmitted to California. The glut of hydropower occurred against the backdrop of California utilities that are striving to meet their 20 percent renewable energy standard by increasingly using the intertie to tap Northwest wind energy instead of hydropower. The state\u2019s renewables portfolio combined with similar laws in Washington and Oregon has unleashed a proliferation of wind energy projects in the Northwest. Hydroelectricity is not considered renewable\u2014and thus not eligible for the 20 percent portfolio requirement\u2014if it\u2019s derived from dams with over 30 MW capacity. Bonneville has over 20,000 MW of capacity. A Northwest Power & Conservation Council report suggests that changes that would allow transmission rights holders on the intertie to more easily release their capacity when not in use could help transfer hydropower to California. In essence, unused capacity results in congestion that could be relieved if transmission rights could be swapped. \u201cIt would be nice if there was more transfer capacity,\u201d agreed McCorkle. However, she maintained that CASIO needs to take congestion pricing into account to optimize the grid. Bonneville spokesperson Michael Milstein said the federal power agency is discussing expanding its capacity. He added that Bonneville already is carrying out some projects along the Oregon portion of the line to upgrade its capacity.