“Why doesn’t GVEA encourage electric use during off-peak periods in order to lower the base load and flatten peaks?” emailed a member recently.
Our current load profile is not very conducive for these types of programs. Golden Valley does not experience significant deviations in peak and off-peak periods.
In the Lower 48, most utilities peak between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. regardless of the season. These peaks can range from 10s to 100s of megawatts.
These utilities typically use coal and hydro power generation for base load and fire up smaller natural gas-fired units to meet peak de¬mands. Therefore, the cost of power varies significantly between peak and off-peak periods.
Golden Valley doesn’t have access to enough coal or hydro to meet base load demands, so we must run oil-fired units as base load gen¬eration. This means our cost of power does not vary as much between peak and off-peak hours.
If GVEA could encourage a significant number of members to shift their usage from day to night, we may be able to displace a diesel unit. Most likely, however, the effort would simply reduce the amount of diesel burned during the day and increase it at night – making the overall cost of power the same.
In the short-term, it won’t matter what time of day GVEA members run energy intensive appliances like clothes dryers or dishwashers. But to reduce costs, one can always take advantage of energy saving tips.