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Bonneville Expects Surplus Power Supply

by Associated Press
Great Falls Tribune, October 16, 2006

New power plants and conservation have led to an expected surplus of energy in the Pacific Northwest this year. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council estimates the electricity supply will exceed demand by about 2,400 megawatts -- enough two run two cities the size of Seattle for a full year. The region is expected to have an adequate power supply for the next five years, analysts say.

That's a huge improvement since 1999, when the region was some 4,000 megawatts short of a full load. That deficit -- combined with sustained drought and regulatory problems in California -- led finally to rolling blackouts and brownouts throughout the West, and tremendous price spikes.

But since then, council analysts say, supply has increased by about 15 percent as new power plants have come online. At the same time, demand has dropped by some 10 percent thanks to conservation measures and cutbacks by large industrial users.

Regional power supplies are 41 percent above average winter demand, analysts say.

Council analyst John Fazio reported the latest power supply projections in a memo Wednesday, noting his estimates include a 1,500-megawatt buffer. Taking that buffer into account, he said, the region's supply actually is a full 3,900 megawatts above established targets.

That means even a repeat of the driest year on record, he said, "would not be cause for alarm."

"In short," the council concluded, "there should be no power-supply problem in the event of extreme cold or heat in 2007."

Related Pages:
Seasonal Hydropower on Lower Columbia & Lower Snake Rivers Army Corps of Engineers Data for 1/00 - 8/02

Associated Press
Bonneville Expects Surplus Power Supply
Great Falls Tribune, October 20, 2006

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