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City finishes work, starts energization of substation for WholeStone Farms

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Substation H

Substation H at Cloverly and Yager roads will supply WholeStone Farms' expansion with power. The city recently completed work and started energization on its two transformers.

The City of Fremont recently completed work and started energization on a new substation that aims to provide WholeStone Farms with power.

"Everything seemed to go fairly on schedule," Electrical Engineer Director Al Kaspar said. "We had a good contractor that was working on the substation and they got it done on time, and so we're very pleased with that and ready to serve WholeStone."

Substation H, located at Cloverly and Yager roads, is one of the city's largest and will provide power with two transformers to WholeStone's expansion, which will require a load of around 15 MW.

The $5.5 million project, which began in May, had 60% of its cost paid for by WholeStone. The two General Electric 25 MVA transformers were purchased in July 2020 by the city for just under $1.5 million.

With any substation, Kaspar said a few minor issues came up during testing, including one of the 15 kV breakers in the switchgear failing.

"We had a technician from Siemens come out and look at it, and he said it had some overtravel in it and so it needed some adjustment that probably needed to be done back at the factory," he said. "We do have in those switchgears some spare breakers, and so we were able to just put a spare breaker in that bay."

At the end of July, Kaspar said the substation's 69 kV was energized and has been running since then. He said workers were beginning the energization process for the two 20 MW transformers on Monday.

"Typically, you try to energize those transformers and leave them energized for a couple of days before you put load on them," he said. "Basically, you call that kind of a hot soak; it gets the oil kind of at the temperature a little bit before you put load on the secondaries."

Kaspar said the loading of the transformers is tentatively scheduled for next week on Monday.

"So we'll leave those transformers energized for about a week before we put load on them," he said. "And then hopefully, the sub will essentially be up, energized and serving load after that time."

Kaspar said he expects WholeStone to energize its switchgear on Monday and apply its power load in phases.

"We expect it to be very lightly loaded for a number of days, if not weeks, probably," he said. "Because when the Costco plant went online, it was quite a while before they got a really significant amount of load put on those circuits, so we kind of expect the same thing to happen with WholeStone."

WholeStone CEO Scott Webb said the company was looking forward to getting on the new substation.

"The wastewater substation is a necessary element supporting the efforts of our plant expansion here in Fremont," he said.

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