Saturday, April 12, 2014

Western U.S. Hydro Power Outlook

Snowpacks remain strong in the Northwest and in the Colorado River Basin, and weak in the Sierra Nevadas.  Current stream flow has declined in the Northwest, reducing power exports to California.  Demand remains suppressed on the west coast, with mild weather in the near term forecast as well.

Bonneville Power hydro output, by far the largest anywhere, has been falling recently, from a high level around 12,500 MW in late March to about 10,500 MW recently:

The stream flow forecast for the Columbia River is still above normal, at 105%:

Meanwhile California hydro power output is still lagging last year by a relatively small amount, less than 20 GWh daily:

Snowpack conditions in the Sierras are worsening slightly, at 29% of normal:

And snowpack in the Colorado River Basin has now dropped below normal, likely due to some warmth and melt.  Normally the pack would continue to build for a few weeks more: