PECO has energized the first of eight circuits from its new $25 million Tunnel Substation to meet the growing needs of University City and West Philadelphia. The substation is part of the company’s $400 million capital investment for improved system performance and reliability in 2009.
The Tunnel Substation is nearing completion after nearly three years of planning, engineering design and construction. The facility will relieve electric load on other substations in the area and ensure reliability for the growing electric demand in University City, specifically from major expansion projects by the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital.
The substation takes 230-kV electricity from the utility’s electric transmission system and converts the energy into lower voltage for distribution to homes, businesses and other customers in the city. The new substation will initially provide eight new 13-kV circuits and can add seven distribution circuits to meet future electric demand.
Tunnel Substation is the fourth new electric substation built in recent years to modernize the electric infrastructure and meet increasing demand in certain areas of Philadelphia. The company built the Tuna substation along North Delaware Avenue in 2005, completed the Waverly substation in Center City in the 2007, and completed the Southwark substation, feeding the former Navy Yard, in April of last year. These projects alone represent a $120 million investment in the Philadelphia electric distribution system. Substations are hubs for local power supply, tapping into high-voltage transmission lines on the regional grid and delivering electricity on local distribution circuits.
“This new facility provides the much needed energy required by the expanding University City area,” said Craig Adams, PECO senior vice president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate the cooperation of the various companies, universities and hospitals we worked with to complete this project.”
Because the substation location is elevated and surrounded by railroad tracks, contractors needed to bore tunnels under the tracks going North and South from the substation in order to connect into the existing distribution system in University City.
The remaining seven circuits, extending into the University City area, will be energized in the coming weeks.