New Power Plant Helps Satisfy Near-Record Electricity Demand
Boise, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Idaho Power’s new Langley Gulch power plant is helping to satisfy near-record electricity demand during this week’s triple-digit heat. The 300-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired plant near New Plymouth, Idaho, went into commercial production on June 29.
“Langley Gulch has come online at the perfect time to help us meet some of the highest loads we have seen in several years,” said Mark Stokes, Idaho Power’s Manger of Power Supply Planning.
On Monday, July 9, temperatures in Boise reached 108 degrees. Idaho Power’s overall peak-hour average load topped 3,207 MW, just short of setting a new system peak record.
Idaho Power’s all-time peak-hour average load reached 3,214 MW in June 2008. The company’s successful demand reduction programs, along with weather conditions and a general decline in economic activity lowered Idaho Power’s peak demand in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Idaho Power experiences its highest demand during the summer months, when air conditioners and irrigation pumps add to everyday electrical usage. An increase in customer growth over the past year has added to that demand.
From the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012, Idaho Power added 5,240 general business customers in its service area – roughly double the second-quarter growth of the previous two years. Residential customers grew by 4,155 from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012 – also significantly higher than the growth seen in the two previous years.
The need for Langley Gulch was first included in Idaho Power’s long-term resource plan in 2004. Construction began in 2009. Although some questioned the need for a new power resource at this time, the increasing customer base and this week’s conditions underscore the long-term need for an additional resource like Langley Gulch.
During Monday’s peak demand just after 2 p.m., the Langley Gulch plant was producing 285 MW of much-needed power while all of the wind turbines currently on Idaho Power’s system, representing nearly 500 MW of capacity, were generating 143 MW.