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2021 energy demand soars past records with extreme weather

Extreme weather events in different seasons of 2021 in B.C. put record-breaking loads on electricity.

The findings come as BC Hydro released a new report. It found that the company had record peak loads in 2021 because of extreme weather conditions, like the heat dome.

During the summer temperatures, the highest hourly demand record was recorded at 8,568 megawatts. This is the equivalent of turning on 600,000 portable air-conditioning units.

They say loads are generally high during the winter months, but summer has been catching up in recent years.

“BC Hydro has enough supply options to meet the growing demand for power,” said spokesperson Kyle Donaldson. “We have always seen our highest demand in the winter months, but demand for power in the summer months is catching up and we saw a distinct shift in that direction last year with more air-conditioning load.”

The winter freeze also caused record-breaking demands. Over the year, BC Hydro has seen 11 of its all-time daily peak records and Dec. 27 saw the highest all-time peak hourly demand record at 10,787 megawatts.

“We use peak loads to describe the electricity demand in the province during the highest load hour of each day,” said Donaldson. “With the heat dome in the summer and the sustained cold temperatures in December, we saw more record-breaking hours on more days last year than any other single year.”

Residents in B.C. also saw increased electricity anxiety, concerned that their electricity supply was not reliable, according to another report.

BC Hydro says they have a surplus of electricity that they expect to last until 2030.

For more information, visit the BC Hydro website.

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