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Idaho Power served record amount of energy in June

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – Idaho Power set new all-time records for energy delivered to customers on each of the final three days of June.

On June 30, customers used 3,745 megawatts (MW) of electricity during the 6 p.m. hour. 

That peak load eclipsed the previous high of 3,422 MW, set July 7, 2017, by more than 9.4%. When the old mark was set, Idaho Power served about 540,000 customers. The company now has more than 590,000 customers. 

Unprecedented growth in southern Idaho and extended record-breaking heat across the region have driven up demand for electricity. Idaho Power typically sees its peak demand periods during hot summer afternoons and evenings as air conditioners and agricultural irrigation pumps work overtime. 

Idaho Power met the demand through a diverse set of resources, including its 17 hydroelectric plants, three natural gas-powered plants, two coal-fired plants and energy purchased from wind, solar and other small independent energy producers as well as energy imported from other parts of the west. 

The company also uses several demand-response programs that provide incentives to participants who volunteer to allow their energy use to be decreased during periods of extremely high demand.  

The utility continues to ask customers to reduce their energy use between the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., whenever possible to reduce strain on the energy grid, but the company says its system has performed well during the record-setting heatwave.  

“We have experts who train year-round for exactly these types of scenarios,” said Adam Richins, Idaho Power’s Chief Operating Officer. “Last week’s success in meeting extremely high demand shows just how skilled our people are and how resilient our system is. We also appreciate all our customers who helped lighten the load in the evening hours.” 

Idaho Power is adding new resources as the company prepares for continued growth. A 120-MW solar project south of Twin Falls is scheduled to come online at the end of next year. The company recently issued a request for proposals to add another 80 MW by summer 2023 and several hundred more MW by 2025. 

The recent spike in energy use also emphasizes the importance of the Boardman to Hemingway transmission line, which the company hopes to bring online as soon as 2026. That 500-kilovolt line will allow Idaho Power to import up to 500 MW — enough for more than 175,000 homes — to meet customers’ peak summer demand. 

Transmission constraints outside Idaho Power’s grid and tight energy supplies across the western United States highlight the importance of a robust, resilient transmission system that can move energy across multiple regions from the places it’s generated to the homes and businesses that need it. 

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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