Extreme Weekend Temperatures Could Lead to Power Blackouts in Northwest US

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Austin, Texas (June 25, 2021) — Record-high temperatures and below-average hydro-generation conditions will rock the Pacific Northwest in the coming days, with a record summer load forecast for the wholesale electrical providers in the region.

Temperatures are expected to reach or exceed all-time record highs in Seattle and Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Boise, Idaho; after a “heat dome,” or large ridge of high pressure, that was over the southwestern U.S. and California last week reestablishes itself over the Northwestern U.S. late this week through early next week.

The heat will be a shock to residents of the region, especially those without air conditioning. Seattle and Portland rank first and third respectively for major U.S. cities with the fewest air-conditioned households, according to the U.S. Census.

And it’s showing up in Enverus’ data, too.

If you find yourself writing on this topic, please consider using one of these quotes from our lead on power analytics, Rob Allerman, Senior Director of Power Analytics.

“Due to the extreme heat, current forecasts show the Pacific Northwest reaching record summer electricity demand on Monday or 132% of average June demand. Unfortunately, supply may not be able to keep up with the record demand we’ll see over the coming days with forecasted temperatures exceeding all-time record highs.  Enverus is forecasting Pacific Northwest hydro-generation on Monday to be 3,000 megawatts (MW) below average during this period.  In addition, 1,300 MW of coal generation was retired earlier this year reducing supply even more.  However, to address this gap, scheduled Transmission work between Southern California and Pacific Northwest was canceled for next week which will allow Southern California to send power into the Northwest. Usually, it’s the other way around.

This event will lead to scarcity wholesale power pricing for the rest of June. While it is still hard to say where wholesale prices will end up at the end of this event, the data shows a risk for rolling blackouts in the region.

The heat will be a shock to residents of the region, especially since many are without air conditioning. We are hoping that residents will be prepared for the heat and stay safe during this difficult time.”

Enverus is continually monitoring the ongoing power issues impacting utility customers throughout the country.

Members of the media should contact Jon Haubert to schedule an interview with one of Enverus’ expert analysts.




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