Power up, water down
Heat wave helps TVA set all-time demand record in August
By Duncan Mansfield
Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE — For many, the end of August and a record-breaking heat wave couldn’t have come soon enough, though a lack of rainfall will continue to be a factor for months to come.
The Tennessee Valley Authority set 13 peak power demand records — more than one every three days — during the month, TVA spokesman Gil Francis said Friday.
The federal utility set an all-time record of 33,499 megawatts on Aug. 16 when the average temperature in the valley hit 103.6 degrees — the highest average for TVA’s seven-state region in 55 years.
A thousand megawatts powers about 550,000 homes in the utility’s coverage area, which includes most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. Most of the region has been under intense drought conditions.
TVA called for voluntary conservation measures from residential users and major industrial customers.
Its coal-fired power plants doubled their previous record — when all 59 boilers ran continuously for more than 14 consecutive days.
But TVA had to idle one reactor for a few days and reduce power in two others at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens because of overheated water in the Tennessee River, which is used to cool the plant.
The TVA region is experiencing one of the driest January-August periods in 118 years of record keeping, Francis said.
“We are running like 15 inches below normal (rainfall) for the valley,” he said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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