Portland, Ore. -- Prolonged subfreezing temperatures across the Pacific Northwest are driving power demand to its highest levels in nearly 10 years--topping out on Friday, Jan. 6 at 10,943 megawatts. That's enough electricity to power nearly eight million homes.
In recent days, power demand has moved above 10,000 MW. Although electricity demands exceeding 10,000 MW are uncommon, Friday's peak is not a record; that honor goes to the year 1990, when BPA's system reached an all-time-high of 11,970 MW.
The January 6 peak was the highest BPA has seen since 2009, when winter demand reached 11,561 MW. For perspective, one MW is enough electricity to power 700 average sized homes.
The bulk of this BPA supplied electricity comes from 10 federal dams, six on the Columbia River and four on the Lower Snake. These dams are part of the Federal Columbia River Power System that encompasses 31 federal dams and one nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station.
The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale electricity from 31 federal dams and one nuclear plant to 142 electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA delivers power via more than 15,000 circuit miles of lines and 261 substations to 475 transmission customers. In all, BPA markets about a third of the electricity consumed in the Northwest and operates three-quarters of the region's high-voltage transmission grid. BPA also funds one of the largest fish and wildlife programs in the world, and, with its partners, pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain affordable, reliable and carbon-free electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov