Residents and frequenters of Water Street in Sperryville have likely noticed ongoing construction activity at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s (REC) Sperryville Substation, which includes installing a second transformer to increase capacity and improve reliability.
“The Sperryville substation project is actually two projects,” Matt Faulconer, REC’s Manager of External Affairs, tells the News, “one conducted last year, and another ongoing now. Both are to provide increased capacity and improved reliability, while also reconfiguring the substation to provide more convenient and safer access when work needs to be performed inside the substation.”
Faulconer says the first project, now completed, was to upgrade the station transformer that converts incoming electricity from 35,000 volts (35 kV) to 12,000 volts (12 kV), the voltage that flows on the lines distributing power throughout Rappahannock County.
The second project, occurring now, is upgrading the station capacity by installing a second transformer that converts incoming electricity from 138,000 (138kV) to 35 KV.
“Having the ability to handle two different levels of incoming voltages provides flexibility and allows the substation to be supplied from multiple directions,” he explains.
Physically speaking, the substation is not expanding outside its current fence line, which borders Water Street to the east and the Schoolhouse Nine Golf Course to the west.
“The station’s perimeter will remain the same, but when the total project is complete there will be more clearance between equipment inside the station, while maintaining open space adequate to accommodate a mobile substation that can be used if any of the current equipment fails or needs to be taken offline for maintenance,” says Faulconer.
The second project is expected to be completed by the end of March 2019.
REC operates and maintains more than 17,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which stretches from these Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, encompassing 22 counties in all.