T&D World Magazine
National Grid Begins Construction of Downtown Providence Substation

National Grid Begins Construction of Downtown Providence Substation

New facility needed for system reliability and to power Rt. I-195 development

Work on a key component in the reliable delivery of electricity to downtown Providence, Rhode Island, and the future of the I-195 Redevelopment Project is now underway. National Grid has broken ground on a new electric substation to replace the existing South Street substation, which dates back to the 1920’s. Construction of the new facility, which will be located on National Grid property off Eddy St. near the existing substation and adjacent to the South Street Landing Project, is expected to be completed late in 2017.

“We see this project as being essential to the on-going revitalization of the city of Providence,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid, Rhode Island. “This facility will meet the electric demands of a major portion of the city for the immediate future and beyond. It’s an integral part of Connect21, National Grid’s program to build an electric distribution system that meets the needs of the 21st century.”

The existing 115,000 V substation and its Franklin Square counterpart, just a short distance away, power the Providence Hurricane Barrier, the main campus of Brown University, Women & Infants Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, the Veterans Administration Hospital as well as the surrounding areas. A five-year study completed by the company in 2014 identified the new substation as being critical for the continued safe and reliable delivery of electricity to these customers and much of the city.

The plans call for construction of a building to house the substation along with outdoor switching equipment. The facility will be located behind the South Street Landing parking garage which is currently under construction and will be adjacent to the Providence River. National Grid is providing land for a 20-foot wide public walkway along the river in the proposal, which was approved by the Providence Downtown Design Review Committee and the RI Coastal Resource Management Council.

Once work is concluded on the new substation, power now coming to the old South Street substation will be switched to the new sub. That will be followed by the demolition of the existing substation, with the entire project to be completed in 2019.

In addition to supporting National Grid’s current Providence customers, the substation is an essential element to the growth of the I-195 Redevelopment Project. The new equipment and upgraded power lines feeding the station will more than meet the anticipated growth in electric demand brought on by commercial and residential development in the area. In fact, looking forward to this development, in 2014 National Grid installed underground electric and natural gas infrastructure that will propel development.

The construction plan calls for the undergrounding of 1,400 feet of transmission line and the removal of structures supporting them. The undergrounding and walkway construction are being funded by the developer of South Street Landing.

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