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Construction Updates

Power plant undergoes inspection

Chugach’s power plant, the Southcentral Power Project, underwent an important inspection in April. The three LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbines, generators, and boilers were inspected as part of a routine program of upkeep and maintenance.

Borescope inspections are done twice a year to assess the condition of blades, vanes, fuel nozzles and other parts without opening up the turbine completely. Chugach is considered a critical infrastructure business for purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic and was able to carry out the April inspection with special permission granted from the State of Alaska. Enhanced health and safety precautions were utilized to keep Chugach employees and the inspector separate and safe.

Placer River transmission line to be relocated as part of road project

Chugach is moving about a mile of transmission line adjacent to the Placer River as part of a road improvement project. The State Department of Transportation (DOT) is smoothing out the radius of the curve and putting in a new bridge over the Placer River. The work runs from Milepost 78 to 79 on the Seward Highway. 

Working with contractor Northern Powerline Constructors (NPC), Chugach will move the transmission line that is currently next to the road, relocating it away from the roadway. The work includes installing four new structures and modifying three additional structures. Although the road project is scheduled for this summer, Chugach’s work is being done in March as the area is wetlands and there is significantly less environmental impact when the area is frozen. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has issued a permit to Chugach for the project. 

While the job is underway, there will be intermittent road closers managed by NPC. To ensure safety, Chugach will advise USFS and a variety of stakeholder groups of the work being done to minimize any interactions between those working on the transmission line project and those recreating in the area.

LED lighting installed at Beluga

A project is underway to replace the lighting at the Beluga Power Plant with more-efficient LED lighting. Beluga personnel are conducting the relamping of the plant, machine shop, warehouse, and mechanic shop buildings.

As the plant was approaching end-of-lifecycle lighting needs, the Beluga employees took the initiative to calculate the energy savings from replacing existing lighting with LED lights. The project is expected to have a payback period of about 1.6 years. The new LED bulbs are more efficient, using approximately 80 percent less power than the older fixtures. In addition to lower costs, the new lighting also provides better overall illumination, enhancing visibility, and providing a safer work environment at Beluga.

Project designed to improve cellular service

Chugach is working with AT&T as it adds small cell equipment around the Chugach service area to improve cellular connectivity in Anchorage. The small cells are designed to improve voice and data services, allowing for faster downloads and better call quality. The equipment is mounted on light poles and serves a small area around the location.  

Each site is separately metered and billed to AT&T by Chugach for the energy used. The small cell equipment uses about one third the energy of an average home.  So far, 42 small cell installations are currently planned in the Chugach service territory, with about 27 completed.  More locations could be added in the future.