New Substation Unveiled in Knightdale
Knightdale, NC – Wake Electric has achieved a significant milestone in its ongoing commitment to providing reliable electricity to its members with the unveiling of a new substation in Knightdale. This modernized facility replaces an aged substation that has served the community for over 35 years, offering improved infrastructure and enhanced reliability.
The former Knightdale substation, powered by a 23kV line, faced reliability challenges due to its lengthy 5.5-mile distribution line. Don Bowman, VP of Engineering and Operations at Wake Electric, emphasized that “when the feeder goes out, you lose the whole station, versus losing a circuit out of that station.” This vulnerability resulted in frequent outages for the more than 1,000 members it served.
To address these issues, Wake Electric strategically constructed the new Knightdale substation adjacent to a robust 230kV line. This decision to be supplied from the bulk power supply will ensure the line is less susceptible to disruptions which will increase the overall reliability. The investment in the new facility includes a 230kV transformer currently in operation, with an additional one ordered as a backup, reflecting their commitment to maintaining a dependable power supply. The estimated cost of the substation is approximately $5 million.
Bowman further explained the improved feeder configuration of the new substation, featuring two circuits in multiple directions that loop into each other. This innovative design enables better isolation of specific sections in case of an issue, significantly enhancing reliability and minimizing the impact of outages. He remarked, “If, for any reason, a limb falls on a certain point, we can isolate that section and provide electricity from the other direction. So even that reliability is going to improve [because] even if we lose an entire circuit, we will still be able to provide electric service to most of the people of Knightdale.”
With the new Knightdale substation’s larger capacity and sophisticated infrastructure, Wake Electric is well-prepared to accommodate the expected growth in the area. The cooperative anticipates that the number of homes served could easily double within the next several years, and this substation will be prepared to handle that population expansion. Bowman highlighted, “It’s our largest voltage system; it can handle all the growth that is expected in the northern portion of Knightdale.” As the substation commences operations, Wake Electric anticipates a significant improvement in reliability within the Knightdale community.
Wake Electric’s commitment to reliability extends beyond Knightdale. With the successful completion of this project, the cooperative has plans to build a new and improved substation in East Durham, an area facing reliability challenges due to its reliance on a 3-mile 25kV feeder line. By proactively addressing these concerns and investing in modern infrastructure, Wake Electric aims to provide dependable and affordable electricity to its members while accommodating future growth in these regions.
As the new Knightdale substation begins serving the community, Wake Electric anticipates a substantial increase in reliability, ensuring a better quality of life for residents. The cooperative’s unwavering dedication to modernizing infrastructure and expanding its reach reflects their commitment to providing reliable and affordable electricity to their members.