Wednesday, October 5

California Swelters With Power Demand Poised to Hit Summer High


(Bloomberg) — California is baking under searing heat, driving electricity demand to its highest this summer, as sweltering temperatures bear down on the US west coast.

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(Bloomberg) — California is baking under searing heat, driving electricity demand to its highest this summer, as sweltering temperatures bear down on the US west coast.

The highest temperatures will linger in northern California and particularly around Redding, where Tuesday’s high is forecast to reach 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) — one degree shy of the record for that date. Temperatures will be 7 to 15 degrees above normal through the next few days, said Chelsea Peters, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento, where temperatures could reach 107 degrees.

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“The Redding area will stay pretty warm through the rest of the week,” Peters said.

The heat wave is the biggest test that California’s power grid has faced this summer. Heading into the season, officials had warned much of the US was at risk of blackouts as extreme heat sends demand for electricity soaring. So far, the nation has avoided major outages. In Texas, demand for power soared to record highs 11 times in June and July, yet the state has managed to keep power flowing, in some instances by asking homes and businesses to cut back on usage.

California’s electricity consumption expected to climb to nearly 45.5 gigawatts on Tuesday, up 4.2% from Monday’s high, according to the state’s grid operator. That would be the highest demand so far this summer. A gigawatt is enough to power about 750,000 homes. The California Independent System Operator expects demand to ease for the rest of the week and, while utilities have been asked to restrict maintenance work, consumers haven’t been told to cut back on electricity use.

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A ridge of high pressure is cooking western North America, with heat advisories and excessive heat warnings stretching from Washington State to Southern California. The heat also extends into Canada, with warnings in southern Alberta, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Portland, Oregon could see temperatures hit 87 degrees on Tuesday before rising to 97 on Wednesday. Spokane, Washington is set to hit 96 degrees Tuesday and break 100 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday.

California’s heat will moderate later in the week with the help of onshore winds, though it will still be “a typical warm summer,” Peter said. That pattern will likely help cool overnight temperatures, bringing relief from the day time highs.

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