Central Maine Power (CMP) on May 2 said that it has energized its new $42m, 345-kV Albion Road substation in Benton, Maine, marking a significant milestone in CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), the $1.4bn upgrade of its bulk electric transmission system.
The 10-acre facility, which will serve as the junction of two 345-kV and five 115-kV transmission lines, includes one 345-kV autotransformer, three 345-kV breakers and 10 115-kV breakers.
CMP added that it also energized a new 345-kV transmission line connecting the company’s system to the transmission system serving northern Maine. The new line starts at the Albion Road substation, runs 59 miles through 13 communities in four counties and connects with Bangor Hydro Electric’s (BHE) new Orrington substation. CMP also said that this provides a reliable loop to support the existing 345-kV transmission system.
MPRP will ensure continued grid reliability and improved access to the region’s bulk power system for Maine’s growing renewable and non-renewable energy industries. The five-year project includes building four new substations with 345-kV autotransformers, one 345-kV switchyard, plus upgrades to more than 40 existing substations and installing or rebuilding almost 440 miles of transmission line in 75 communities from Eliot to Orrington in Maine.
Since construction began in 2010, the project has employed nearly 2,700 workers among contractors, consultants and suppliers, in addition to up to 900 more jobs through indirect and induced employment spurred by the construction spending, CMP said.
Construction on the project is expected to be complete in mid-2015.
In April, CMP said it completed work on a project that should improve grid reliability in communities south of Portland, Maine.
Specifically, the company has installed a new transformer and additional equipment at its Pleasant Hill substation in Scarborough. The substation provides power to more than 15,000 homes and businesses in Scarborough, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.
“Some of the equipment at the facility dated back to the 1960s and was due for replacement or upgrade,” a CMP spokesperson said in the statement. “We have installed one new transformer and added a circuit breaker to improve the performance of a second transformer at the facility. We also put in new protective equipment and state-of-the-art controls.”
In a separate April statement, CMP said it completed work on a $1.74m power grid project that will improve service to homes and businesses in the northern Androscoggin County town of Leeds in Maine.
A three-phase line along Bishop Hill Road that had been providing service to the northern part of town had become overloaded and was suffering from considerable wear and tear, the company said, adding that it chose to move that main “feeder” line to Route 106, also known as Leeds Center Road, and installed new three-phase conductor atop poles along that route. The project included installation of nearly seven miles of wire atop 177 new utility poles.
CMP also said that the line is fed from the new Monmouth substation, completed in 2012, as part of the MPRP.
CMP President Sara Burns said in the April statements that CMP, with the support of parent company Iberdrola USA, is investing nearly $430m this year in building a stronger, smarter grid for the state.
Iberdrola USA is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A. BHE is wholly owned by Emera.