The Pacific Northwest recently experienced a cold snap that brought below-freezing temperatures to the region for four days- increasing the area’s energy demands. According to BPA, the area’s load peaked at 11,396 megawatts, which is a modern era energy demand record since the time aluminum smelters were served with federal power.

“The federal dams and Columbia Generating Station, the region’s one nuclear plant, were vital to keeping the lights on during this dangerous freezing weather event,” said Power Services Senior Vice President Suzanne Cooper. “While other generation experienced outages, federal generation operated reliably. This performance combined with activity in the wholesale power market allowed us to meet our customers’ load and help supply others during this event.”

The reliability seen during this recent event was the result of significant coordination with multiple partners, real-time adjustments as conditions changed, and the strategic maximization of outputs achieved with power from Columbia Generating Station, Grand Coulee, the four Lower Snake River Dams: Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor (pictured above), and others.

Read more about the event and strategies here: 20240131-federal-hydro-system-powers-region-through-arctic-blast – Bonneville Power Administration (