Chugach construction season underway
Chugach Electric Association will be doing a number of projects during the 2015 construction season.
Six miles of transmission line will be rebuilt between Powerline Pass and the Seward Highway near Indian. Crews will access the project from both directions, and periodic trail closures may be necessary. Notice boards will be posted at either end of the project to advise trail users. Construction vehicles and a helicopter will be active in the area during the construction window. The $6 million project is scheduled to begin in June and end in October, with most of the new structures to be erected between mid-July and mid-August.
On the Anchorage Hillside, Chugach will be building a new distribution substation at the intersection of O’Malley Road and Hane Street, east of Lake Otis Parkway. The $10.9 million project is necessary to meet the growing demand for electricity in the area. Site preparation will start in June, with electrical construction to begin later in the year and conclude in the spring of 2016.
Several improvements will be made at Chugach’s Dowling Substation, near the intersection of Dowling and Elmore roads. A new ground grid and fence will be installed for safety and security, while new switchgear, relays and controls will be added to provide enhanced monitoring and control. Chugach will split the existing circuit that feeds the facility to improve reliability. Some existing overhead lines at the substation will be replaced with new underground circuits. The $3 million project is scheduled to start in July and end in December.
Near Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula, work continues on the Stetson Creek diversion project. The $22 million project resulted from a condition of the new 50-year operating license Chugach received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2007. The project will divert water from Stetson Creek into the reservoir of Chugach’s Cooper Lake Hydroelectric Project. Currently Stetson Creek flows into the Cooper Creek drainage below the Cooper Lake dam. Relatively warmer water will then be taken from the reservoir and put into Cooper Creek. The goal of agency biologists is to restore fish habitat with warmer water in the creek. Construction of a diversion structure, two miles of buried pipeline, a siphon and outfall works is necessary to move the required water. Construction began in 2013 and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.
Within the Anchorage Bowl, communications upgrades are planned at several Chugach substations. The planned work includes the addition or extension of communications towers within the substations. Chugach maintains a communications system that uses radio, microwave and telecommunications links to enable data collection and operational control and monitoring of various components of its electric system.
Some of the new communications infrastructure will relay information from new meters Chugach is installing as part of a multi-year replacement of the more than 80,000 meters on its system. Chugach intends to incorporate data from the meters into a new outage management system. Dispatchers in Chugach’s power control center will receive information from meters when they lose power, allowing them to better analyze
outages and coordinate restoration. Chugach anticipates replacing more than 6,000 meters in 2015.
In compliance with Anchorage municipal code, Chugach will continue the conversion of overhead distribution facilities to underground in 2015. An ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly in 2005 calls for utilities to spend up to 2 percent of retail revenue to move lines underground. Chugach funds the program with a 2-percent charge on the bills of customers in Anchorage that raises about $3.2 million annually. Chugach’s projected 5-year plan of conversion projects is posted on its website. The largest Chugach conversion project for 2015 will run along Tudor Road from west of C Street to the Old Seward Highway. The approximately $1 million project will replace about a half mile of existing overhead line with new buried cable.
As the construction progresses, information about Chugach projects will be available at www.chugachelectric.com.
Chugach is the largest electric utility in Alaska, providing power to Railbelt Alaskans through retail, wholesale and economy energy sales.