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Fremont sees new peak in electricity usage last month

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The Fremont City Council will discuss a $108,365 project to add a new compact submersible conveyor system to the Lon D. Wright Power Plant's Unit 8 at its meeting Tuesday.

The city of Fremont set a new record peak for electricity last month with 107.29 megawatts reported on June 17.

The record was previously broken after almost nine years on June 16 with 102.74 MW reported. The record was previously set at 96.7 MW on July 24, 2012.

City Administrator Brian Newton said in a city update that he believed an even higher peak could be seen later this year with oppressive heat through July and August.

Although Newton said the city is not currently at risk of exceeding its electric generation resources as the maximum output from Fremont’s three power plants is 120 MW, a day where that happens could occur in the future.

“I get asked all the time, ‘Where are we with the power plant? How much life does it have left?’” he told the Fremont Tribune. “And that’s what I’m trying to address, is how close the new peak comes to what we have capabilities of producing.”

To better prepare for such an occurrence, Newton said the city is seeking proposals for an extra 25 MW of power from other state electric generation sources either later this year or early next year.

“And then we’ll take a look at how long of a term that’s going to be, since it depends on price, how long of a term we go on that,” he said. “But we’re getting to the point where the next buyable option is to go out and get a power purchase agreement and start supplementing what we have here.”

In the meantime, Fremont residents can help to lower the peak by minimizing their electricity usage throughout the day by turning off lights or appliances when not in use.

Ways to help also include holding off on activities that use large amounts of electricity such as running a dishwasher, dryer, washing machine or oven until later in the evening.

“Typically, the demand for electricity is the highest between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.,” Newton said in the update, “so anything you can do to curtail your use of electricity during this period of time helps lower the peak.”

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