T&D World Magazine

Anaheim Dedicates First Underground Electric Substation in U.S.

Anaheim Public Utilities, in a partnership that included the city’s Community Services Departments as well as some of the nation’s top energy contracting and consulting firms, dedicated Park Substation, the first underground electric substation in the United States. Adding to the uniqueness of the substation is the fact that it sits below Roosevelt Park, a two-acre facility that serves the East Anaheim neighborhood.

The electric distribution station, has the capacity to serve 25,000 current and future residential customers. It uses state-of-the-art technology in substation design with Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS), which reduces the required space for the substation to approximately 30 percent of a conventional station design.

“I am pleased to see Anaheim continue its transformation into a city of the 21st century with the completion of this innovative project,” Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle told an audience of more than 100 invited guests that included city and utility leaders, project team members, as well as local residents and business owners. “With this new technology, we will be able to build substations closer to where we need them, in spaces that are considerably smaller than their predecessors and within enclosures such as buildings or underground.” Park Substation is the eleventh and newest distribution substation for Anaheim Public Utilities.

All circuits into and out of the station are underground, including 10 circuit miles of underground cable installed on Santa Ana Canyon Road, while another 5 miles of existing overhead lines are being converted to underground. An additional 8 circuit miles are underground on other streets. The SF6 12-kV and 69-kV switchgear were manufactured by Siemens in Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany, respectively. A pair of Siemens 50 MVA, 69/12 kV transformers were manufactured in Bogotá, Columbia. The underground structure is 110 ft wide by 130 ft long. Walls are 2 ft thick and roof and floor are 18 inches thick.

“In building this facility, our community leaders once again challenged us to fulfill our mission to deliver the affordable and reliable power that Anaheim needs now and into the future,” said Marcie Edwards, general manager for Anaheim Public Utilities. “However, in doing so, we were also reminded that success requires solutions that work in concert with our neighbors and enhance the community.”

Roosevelt Park will include open green space, walkways, seating and landscaping. It will complement the local surroundings and be within walking distances from the neighboring local residential and commercial areas. Even before its official opening, Park Substation and Roosevelt Park were officially recognized with a plaque for “its contribution to the civic beauty of our community” by Anaheim Beautiful, an all-volunteer non-profit organization composed of citizens and affiliated local organizations.

The design-build team for Park Substation is a joint venture consisting of three companies—Siemens, a worldwide supplier of GIS equipment; Turner Construction, a general contracting firm; and BETA Engineering, a highly experienced specialty electrical engineering firm. As a design-build project, the joint venture was responsible for engineering, procurement of the material and construction of the facility.

“While we knew Park Substation would be a first-of-its-kind facility for Anaheim, we were wise enough to know that it would have been foolish for us to take on the responsibility to build a $19.5-million facility as mere novices,” Edwards said. “Due to the complex nature of the project, the city retained the construction management services of Sargent and Lundy, LLC.” Headquartered in Chicago, Sargent and Lundy is a leading internationally renowned engineering firm with extensive experience involving GIS substations.

“This is the first of several new substations that we are building to update our electric system throughout Anaheim,” Pringle said. “In the coming months, Anaheim Substation, located near City Hall, will be replaced using GIS technology. The new substation will be enclosed within an above-ground structure designed to fit in with the historical architectural theme of the surrounding downtown Anaheim neighborhood. Additionally, Vermont Substation, also in the downtown area, will not be far behind. It will also use GIS technology, but will have an open-air design in a very compact space.”

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