Several days of intense heat pushed Pacific Northwest temperatures above the 100-degree mark sending regional summertime power consumption to record highs.
As the mercury soared, air conditioners and fans hummed along breaking the Bonneville Power Administration’s record for peak summertime electricity consumption three days in a row.
BPA customer power usage broke the 2014 peak of 7,861 MW on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 1, 2 and 3, with Wednesday being the highest. BPA’s customers consumed 8,048 MW on Tuesday, 8,226 MW Wednesday and 8,208 on Thursday.
For reference, just one megawatt can power an estimated 700 Northwest homes or 1,200 MW can power an entire city the size of Seattle.
BPA, in concert with its federal partners, prepared for the heat wave by safely delaying routine-maintenance activities, ensuring the turbines in federal dams were optimized for power generation and working closely with the Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear plant that generates up to 1,200 MW of clean, reliable power.
BPA transmission crews also stood ready to quickly address outages and kept in constant contact with firefighters as wildland fires across the region threatened transmission lines. However, so far, problems on BPA’s transmission system have been kept to a minimum.
“Our crews have done an outstanding job preparing for this stretch of hot weather. And not just the equipment and the system, they’ve also been watching out for each other’s safety in this sweltering heat. We’ve not had a single injury, heat-related or otherwise, during this event,” says Robin Furrer, vice president of Transmission Field Services for the Bonneville Power Administration. “Our mission is to keep the lights on even under the most extreme conditions. So this is a job well done.”