West coast heat wave an unexpected financial gain for PUD
General Manager Steve Kern said what power managers call a “heat storm” is the worst in nine years. It’s driving up demand for electricity because of the need for air conditioning.
“You don’t see this type of extreme often,” Kern said. “Very hot weather, very high loads across the West. Even the Northwest is having a higher demand.”
Those conditions, which Kern predicted will last about seven more days, have reduced wind energy output and natural gas deliverability in California, he said. Demand for power has caused electrical costs on the spot market to spike sharply in California.
He compared the increases to “gasoline going from $3 to $10 or $12 per gallon over the course of a day or two.”
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which oversees most of California’s power grid, uses natural gas, nuclear power and imported energy from the Northwest to cover roughly 90 percent of its energy load.