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Economic and dam related articles

Real Time Look at Summer Power Consumption

by David Haviland
KBKW, July 9, 2010

As a hot spell puts extra pressure on power supplies, reporters and the public can check Bonneville Power Administration's website for an instantaneous online glimpse of electric generation and demand in BPA's section of the Northwest grid.

Balancing Authority Load and Total Wind Generation Chart, Last 7 days

BPA's online display now includes the real-time output of Columbia and Snake River hydroelectric dams and thermal power plants. Click for link to current readout.

BPA just expanded its real-time display to show the current energy output of hydroelectric dams, including the Federal Columbia River Power System, and thermal power plants such as nuclear and gas plants. The display also shows minute-by-minute wind energy output and current power consumption, called load. It's available around the clock at

The unique view of regional energy sources illustrates the importance of renewable hydroelectric and wind energy in powering the Northwest. The result is that Northwest electricity comes with the lowest emissions of any similar power supply nationwide.

Thanks in part to late spring rains that helped fill reservoirs, the region's power system is well positioned to supply electricity during a heat wave expected to last several days. The rain boosted Columbia River flows from about two-thirds to three-fourths of average and refilled Grand Coulee Dam earlier than expected. Columbia Generating Station near Richland, Wash., is also producing its full output of reliable nuclear power.

BPA's weather team expects hot weather through the weekend and warm, but not excessively hot, temperatures into August.

BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,800 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system

David Haviland
Real Time Look at Summer Power Consumption
KBKW, July 9, 2010

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