Cold weather boosts power demand

Cold weather boosts power demand

January 5th, 2018 by Dave Flessner in Breaking News

Jeff House, a load forecaster for TVA in Chattanooga, reviews weather forecasts to help TVA predict power demand for its 7-state region.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Today's frigid temperatures pushed up power demand for the Tennessee Valley Authority to 29,329 megawatts this morning when the temperature averaged 18 degrees Fahrenheit across TVA's 7-state region.

But today's power demand was still short of the peak reached Tuesday when power demand spiked to 31,740 megawatts for TVA when temperatures in the Tennessee Valley averaged only 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

This week's weather has been the coldest so far this winter and set a holiday power consumption record for TVA on New Year's Day.

A majority of homes and businesses in the Tennessee Valley are heated with electric furnaces so the colder weather pushes up power consumption as furnaces operate more and at higher loads as temperatures drop.

But with most of its 74 power plants in full production, TVA spokesman Scott Fiedler said TVA was able to meet the peak demand without any need to curtail power deliveries for customers who have interruptible power contracts in the region.

TVA added its seven nuclear reactor to its grid in late 2016 with the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2 and rainfall has been more abundant in the past few months than it was a year ago, helping to boost output from TVA's 29 power-generating dams.

Tuesday's power peak on Tuesday was one of the top 10 winter power consumption periods in TVA's 85-year history, although still below the utility's all-time winter peak of 33,324 megawatts reached in January 2014 when temperatures fell across the Tennessee Valley to only 7 degrees.

TVA's all-time power peak of 33,482 megawatts was reached in August 2007 when temperatures jumped in the region to 102 degrees.

Temperatures in Chattanooga have been below or near freezing most of the past week, but the National Weather Service predicts temperatures should warm up in the next week with daily high temperatures next week in the 40s and 50s.