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BBQs to Push Load to New Highs? Probably Not

With the July 4th holiday just about here, people are itching for the long weekend and eying their grills. We often discuss the energy transition in these Energy Market Insights, since it affects markets and companies regardless of industry, but what about your grill in the backyard? Today, we’ll take a lighthearted, quasi-factual look at how your BBQ will move markets.

Of the 128 million grills in service in the US, it’s expected that 48.5 million of those will be cooking on the Fourth. Proprietary research (aka a survey of our office) says that peak grilling occurs at 5 PM.

But those numbers include grills of all types: charcoal, gas, pellets. If the Energy Transition has shown us one thing, it’s that electrification is the wave of the future. So, what if we electrify all those grills? Assuming these new electric grills don’t have solar panels or wind turbines built in, this means an incremental 3% load on top of peak Fourth of July load.

Now the question is, how to meet that new peak BBQ power consumption? Why not turn to the other Fourth of July staple and potentially untapped power source: fireworks. During peak grilling, we would need to capture the energy from 96.1 million pounds of fireworks to serve incremental grilling load.

Will we see electric grills push this year’s load to new highs? Will we finally harness the power of fireworks in the power sector? No and no. But, regardless, have a safe, BBQ and firework-filled holiday!

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Trevor Fugita is an Energy Analyst for BTU Analytics, primarily focusing on power market analysis. Trevor holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Economics from the Colorado School of Mines.

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