Electricity demand in Alberta reached a peak of 9,552 MW at 3 p.m. on July 18 due to recent hot weather in the province, breaking the previous record of 9,541 MW set on August 18, 2008.
“Our load is quite high, but the majority of units are operating at or near maximum capacity therefore we have adequate supply to meet demand,” says Alberta Electric System Operator Supervisor of Market Analytics Matthew Davis. “Our interties are also functioning properly and we currently have additional capacity in the province and from our interties should we need it.”
On a typical summer day in Alberta, demand fluctuates between 8,900 to 9,200 MW per hour. During summer, an increase in temperature of one degree Celsius equates to an additional 50 MW of electricity consumed per hour.
“The AESO’s system controllers monitor the grid 24/7,” says Davis. “We work closely with transmission facility owners and power generation owners to ensure that even during times of high demand we have procedures in place to meet the electricity demands of Albertans.”
Heaviest demand for electricity in Alberta occurs in winter and most frequently attributed to combined factors of cold weather, reduced daylights hours and increased demand for lighting. On December 14, 2009, the province set a record winter peak of 10,236 MW of power.
Demand for power increased 31 percent since 2000. Despite significant growth, no major upgrades have occurred in over 20 years, straining the system to operate near its limit, and underlining the need to reinforce the transmission system.