Northwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NWEC) has selected Renewable Energy Systems (RES) to repair and rebuild 380 miles of distribution line in Oklahoma damaged or destroyed by ice storms in 2017. The lines are located in the northwest portion of Oklahoma, concentrated in a 50-mile radius southwest of Woodward. The repair work began in April 2019 and the rebuild is slated for completion in March 2020.
The 14.4 and 7.2 kV distribution system carries electricity from the transmission grid to individual consumers and businesses and provides power to about 3000 of NWEC’s 11,822 meters. NWEC incurred roughly $21 million of damage to its electrical infrastructure during the 2017 storms. While NWEC restored lines and power immediately following the storm, NWEC is now focused on bringing the system back to specification and building resilience for the future.
“NWEC looks forward to working with RES on the first of three planned projects. These projects will replace old conductor and install larger poles, including ductile poles with storm anchors, to provide added strength to our system,” says Jonna Hensley, NWEC Member Services & Communications Coordinator.
RES will self-perform a portion of the project as well as subcontract a significant amount of work to various local subcontractors. At the peak of construction, more than 60 full-time employees will be working on the project. Many specialty line workers travel long distances from their homes and will generate significant revenue benefits to the local communities via spend at hotels, campsites, restaurants, and other local businesses.
“We are honored to be selected by Northwestern Electric Cooperative to help in this immense restoration effort,” says Kyle Settle, senior vice president for RES transmission and distribution. “We look forward to working with NWEC and the local communities to repair the lines and build resilience for future damages.”