The Transmission Infrastructure Program Electrical District 5 – Palo Verde Hub project in Arizona’s Pinal and Maricopa counties reached a major
Completion of the 22-mile segment between ED5 and Test Track substations represents nearly half of the new and upgraded line construction needed to complete the project.
construction milestone recently with the completion of 22 miles of new 230-kilovolt transmission lines between ED-5 substation and Test Track substation.
The new segment of transmission line represents half of all new construction and line upgrades required for the project, which will increase transmission capacity to deliver renewable energy, primarily solar, to consumers in Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California.
Construction was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, saving Western and the project proponent money and keeping the project on track for early 2015 energization.
The next step in the project is to expand Test Track substation to accomodate the increased transmission capacity. At the same time, the other half of transmission line upgrades will continue through early 2014.
Insulation is being used to isolate the wire in the air from the equipment on the ground, as part of Phase II of the Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission line rebuild project, March 26, 2013
Contractors continue rebuilding two 115-kilovolt transmission lines as part of Phase II of the Lovell-to-Yellowtail project. With work in the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area complete in fall 2012, the construction contractor started removing the No. 2 line south of the NRA in Wyoming, March 25, 2013.
Crews have about 10 miles of the No. 2 line down and are working on setting new structures in cultivated fields before irrigation of farm land begins.
While crews work on the No. 2 line, the Lovell-to-Yellowtail No. 1 transmission line continues to deliver power from Yellowtail Dam.
The upgrades to the Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission lines No. 1 and 2 are needed to replace the original lines built by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1956 and 1966.
You can see more photos of the project’s construction on Flickr.
Acting Administrator Anita Decker, left, accepts a safety vest from Maintenance Manager Will Schnyer, Feb. 20, at the RMEL workshop. The vest is signed by all the Western employees who helped restore power in the northeast after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in late October 2012.
We want 100 percent efficiency and 100 percent reliability at Western; but the one category we always want to see zeros in is accidents and injuries.
Safety is part of the job, planning and culture at Western. From senior and direct managers to office and field workers, employees know how important it is for everyone to go home at the end of the day.
The long days Western crews put in helping with the restoration efforts in the northeast after Hurricane Sandy were no exception. “All together our guys worked more than 18,500 hours in the 10 days we were out there,” said Will Schnyer, a maintenance manager out of Montrose, Colo. “That’s like one person working 40 hours a week for almost 9 years! And our crews did it without a single accident or injury.”
To celebrate the success, all 91 Western employees who responded to the call after Hurricane Sandy signed a safety vest. Schnyer presented the vest to Western’s Acting Administrator Anita Decker at RMEL’s “Electric Utility Emergency Response—Hurricane Sandy and Beyond” workshop, Feb. 20, 2013.
“We appreciate all the support we received while we went to restore the power system in New Jersey,” said Schnyer. “Our success is really marked by our safe working record. We are really proud of that record and of our team.”
“I’m honored to be recognized by the Hurricane Sandy responders,” said Decker, “but I’m truly most proud of what it represents in regard to the collective safety of each and every person involved.”
How do you recognize your employees’ safety efforts or achievements?
Employees with Tri-Technic Inc. prepare footer for an ED-5 Substation retaining wall, Feb. 11, 2013.
Construction work started on a project that will connect renewable energy south of Phoenix, Ariz., to a major trading hub. This is the first major construction step for the Electrical District No. 5 – Palo Verde Hub Project.
“It’s great to see that construction work has started on this important project,” said ED5-PVH Project Manager Todd Rhoades. “Hurricane Sandy and the recent northeast blackouts really highlight how important our energy infrastructure is to our everyday lives. This project is an investment in improving our system in the desert southwest area.”
Western awarded the construction contracts in fall 2012. These projects are being funded through Western’s Transmission Infrastructure Program.
What benefits do you see from projects like ED5-PVH in support of the utility industry?
E.M.F. Three little letters that strike terror into many hearts, but why?
Donna Shay, a Colorado citizen, asked Western to conduct an electric and magnetic field reading at her cabin that sits just outside a 115-kilovolt transmission line’s right-of-way. EMF readings determined about 1 milliGauss of exposure near her front door.
Mostly, it’s because we don’t understand electric and magnetic fields, or EMF.
The truth is people come into contact with these fields every day. EMFs occur naturally, like the magnetic field caused by currents deep inside Earth’s molten core. Manmade fields are also created by common appliances and equipment we depend on every day, like talking on a cell phone or heating up lunch in a microwave.
At Western, our high-voltage transmission lines and substations give off EMF, which sometimes concerns landowners with lines over and near their property. To help allay concerns, Western’s electrical engineers will test landowners’ EMF exposures from our transmission lines on request. Read more »
South of Parker Dam near Parker, Ariz., sits the beginning phase of a new switchyard, just north of the existing 161 kV tap.
With the lines shoo flied around the new site, construction began with grading the site, erecting the perimeter fence and placing the foundation for equipment and the new control building.
Completing this switchyard will convert the existing 161-kV tap to a more reliable configuration that will provide better service to both Western and its customers. Using pre-payment funding the substation is expected to be completed and energized by December 2013.
When you think of Wyoming and Montana in the winter, you might think “cold”—cold enough that you wouldn’t want to be outdoors working on the construction of a transmission line. But that’s exactly what Western crews will be doing this winter.
Western contractor operating the hydraulic press, right, with another crew member as his assistant to perform dead-ending operations as part of Phase 1 of the Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission line rebuild project.
Crews recently wrapped up rebuilding the Lovell-to Yellowtail No. 1 and No. 2 115-kilovolt transmission lines in the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area in Wyoming and Montana. They expect to begin reclamation of unneeded access roads soon. In Feb. 2013, they will begin rebuilding the sections of the lines north and south of the NRA.
The Lovell-to-Yellowtail transmission lines are located between Lovell, Wyo., and Yellowtail Dam, Mont., and help provide the reliable transmission of Yellowtail Dam’s generation.
You can see more photos of Phase 1 construction on Flickr.
Lineman Joshua Bailey of the Cody, Wyo., maintenance office completes a pre-trip inspection on the 100-foot aerial manlift the morning of Nov. 1 before he and four other crewmates depart for Hoboken, N.J., to help with power restoration after Hurricane Sandy.
Western sent dozens of linemen, electricians, vehicles and supplies and two of its three Bell 407 helicopters to help repair storm damage to the electric grid in some of the hardest hit areas of New Jersey.
Along with its sister power marketing administrations Southwestern and Bonneville, Western has responded to calls for assistance from the Department of Energy to get the Northeast powered as quickly as possible.
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastating storm,” said Anita Decker, Western Acting Administrator. “The President has directed the Department of Energy, Western and the other power marketing administrations to work with the Northeast Utilities and do all we can to accelerate power restoration to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Western is proud to be part of this effort to help restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”
Western is providing daily updates and photos on its support to Hurricane Sandy at its website and Flickr account.
James Hirning, a Rocky Mountain transmission planner, talks about Western and transmission planning to engineering graduate students at the University of Denver Nov. 1.
Rocky Mountain transmission planner Jim Hirning talks with University of Denver engineering graduate students Nov. 1 about transmission planning in Western and the intricacies that go into devising how to keep the electric grid reliable in the coming decades. Transmission planning is an area of potential job growth for Western as new generation, particularly renewable, comes online and demand grows in the West. As of last year, Western had more than 11,000 megawatts of renewable energy in its interconnection queues and not enough people, or transmission, to work through the requests.
Neighbors, local government officials and Western representatives gathered around a large map during workshop meetings, Oct. 2 to 4, where they discussed options for an upgrade to combine two transmission lines into one right of way. Both lines feed the Town of Estes and other nearby communities in Colorado with energy.
Drawing alternative routes with colored markers, neighbors talked about how different paths for the power line could impact the environment, their neighbors and the scenic views of their town and surrounding national forests. For some participants, it was an educational experience in the complexity of differing views and issues that came up regarding their ideas.
The collective thoughts and considerations of these engaged citizens will help Western Area Power Administration determine the alternatives it will review in its draft environmental impact statement for the Estes-Flatiron Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
Western is preparing to analyze how different alternatives for rebuilding or maintaining the transmission system will provide reliable power and impact the environment, landowners and surrounding communities. With high public interest for this project, Western extended the scoping period through Oct. 19 to work with the local communities to:
- Identify transmission line route options
- Gather input on design/structure features
- Understand the many issues and impacts with any alternative route
If you would like to provide input on route alternatives or structure design, take the time to examine the scoping and alternative development materials and reply to Western by Oct. 19. The input will help Western and cooperating agencies identify alternatives to be analyzed in the draft environmental impact statement.