HARTFORD — Wiregrass Electric Cooperative energized a new substation in the Fadette community on Tuesday, a $2.6 million investment that dramatically improves the power grid serving its members.
The project, supported by PowerSouth Energy Cooperative resources, increases the reliability of service delivered to Slocomb-area residents while also upping load capacities and improving efficiency.
“Wiregrass Electric Cooperative has planned this project for several years, and we rejoice that it has finally come to fruition,” said Brad Kimbro, WEC’s chief operating officer. “We are always implementing changes, both large and small, that improve our grid. WEC is proud to serve our members better through this effort and appreciates PowerSouth’s support of it.”
Following the completion of the Fadette substation, WEC retired a Slocomb-based substation that operated on 46 kilovolts. The new substation operates at 115 kVs, increasing capacity and providing other benefits, according to Russ Harper, PowerSouth distribution engineer and assistant to the director of engineering.
“The 115-kV transmission system tends to be more robust as the structures are larger, provide more spacing and create more network redundancy, which equates to greater reliability,” Harper said.
Another benefit is the new substation uses newer and more efficient equipment, which reduces line loss. Line loss is the amount of power lost during transmission of electricity from power plants hundreds of miles away.
PowerSouth’s transmission lines feed the new substation. Coupled with an Alabama Power-fed substation in the area, the new facility provides WEC multiple options to deliver electricity to members should wide-scale outages occur.
“This project benefits our members in so many ways,” said Jason Thrash, WEC’s vice president of engineering and operations. “It helps us deliver a more efficient and more reliable product during ordinary days and potentially reduces the length of outages in the area following severe storms.”
PowerSouth approved the project in 2018 and provided more than $2.4 million to support it. Construction began on the substation in March and took about 33 weeks to complete.
“The project went very smoothly as we worked collaboratively with WEC’s staff on design,” Harper said. “They were very helpful in making this project come to fruition.”
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