Despite the lower-than-average water year, there is plenty of water behind Grand Coulee Dam and some snowpack left in the Canadian Rockies. Unlike 2015 and 2001, years with a similar volume of water, the shape of this year’s runoff has been slower with snow gradually melting above Grand Coulee.
As record-breaking heat bears down on the Pacific Northwest this weekend, the Bonneville Power Administration has taken several steps to position the federal power and transmission system to serve its customers during this weather event. BPA is ready to keep lights and air conditioners on even with the triple digit temperatures forecast across the region.
“Even with streamflows below average levels, we are in a good position to serve our customers over this very hot weekend,” said Senior Vice President of Power Services Suzanne Cooper. “I want to thank our partners at the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the work and coordination they provide at the region’s 31 federal dams to ensure reliable operations.”
On the transmission side, BPA is taking measures to ensure the safe and reliable flow of electricity this weekend. BPA owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of transmission lines across the Northwest and small amounts in Nevada, Utah and California.
“The reliable flow of electricity is vital to public safety,” said BPA Transmission Services Senior Vice President Richard Shaheen. “We’ve put all maintenance projects that we can on pause to ensure our transmission system can handle increased flows and meet our customers’ demands.”
On Thursday, BPA restricted planned maintenance on its transmission grid from 6 a.m. Monday, June 28 through Tuesday, June 29 at 10 p.m., so the federal agency can leverage the system to its greatest use when load is expected to increase with the start of the workweek.
“Having all of our lines available will help relieve congestion on the system,” said Vice President of Transmission Operations Michelle Cathcart. “With these unprecedented temperatures, we want to ensure electricity can move freely and reliably meet customer demands.”