BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Power says it has set all-time records for energy on each of the last three days of June. On June 30, 3,745 megawatts of electricity were used during the 6 p.m. hour, beating the previous high of 3,422 MW set on July 7, 2017, by more than 9.4%.
When the old record was set, Idaho Power served around 540,000 customers. The company says it now serves more than 590,000 people.
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 harder.
Idaho Power meets the demand with 17 hydroelectric plants, three natural gas-powered plants, two coal-fired plants and energy bought from wind, solar and other small independent energy producers. The company also uses energy imported from other parts of the west.
Customers are still asked to reduce their energy use between the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to help reduce strain on the grid. Idaho Power says its system has performed well during the latest 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.”
A 120 MW solar project near Twin Falls is scheduled to online at the end of 2022. Idaho Power issued a request for proposals to add another MW by summer 2023 and several hundred more 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 to meet customers’ peak summer demand, according to a news release. That line will have enough power for more than 175,000 homes.