With high temperatures predicted for B.C. and much of western North America this weekend, concerns are being raised about the larger Western grid — to which BC Hydro is connected — and how it will hold up.
Last week, abnormal temperatures in at least 11 states in the western United States sent thermostats soaring above 38 C (100 F). In fact, the National Weather Service announced more than 40-million people were under a heat advisory or excessive heat warning.
As a result of the extreme temperatures, some states felt the strain on their power grids as residents stayed indoors and cranked up the air conditioning to get some relief. In Texas, some power plants had unexpected outages, causing 2.4 million homes to lose power.
The Energy Reliability Council of Texas also asked residents to conserve energy to avoid rolling blackouts. In California, the California Independent System Operator issued flex alerts last week, asking residents to conserve power to reduce the strain on the state’s power grid.
With temperatures predicted far above normal this weekend, BC Hydro has said that, despite the pressure across the Western grid, it will be able to continue to deliver power to its customers in the province.
BC Hydro has more than enough power to meet the increased demand on its system.
And, unlike some of its neighbours to the south, who are experiencing extremely low reservoir levels in some areas, BC Hydro is forecasting normal reservoir levels on average across the province this summer.
BC Hydro said it is well positioned with its flexible hydroelectric infrastructure and a surplus of clean generation. The vast majority of the power BC Hydro produces comes from hydroelectric resources, which the Crown corporation said essentially acts as a battery, allowing BC Hydro to ramp generation up and down at a moment’s notice.