AUGUSTA, Maine — Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, has re-energized a 13.9-mile 115 kV transmission line connecting the Riley Substation in Jay to the Rumford IP Substation in Rumford.
The completion of the transmission line work earlier this month is yet another milestone in the Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), a $1.4 billion upgrade of CMP’s bulk electric transmission system in Maine, according to a company press release.
The line, known as Section 229, was built in 1959. As part of the MPRP, it was removed and fully rebuilt with 185 new single-pole structures. The new line will add flexibility and improve reliability in the area, and the single-pole construction leaves enough room in the existing corridor for a second 115kV transmission line. Construction of the second line, designed to even further enhance service in the western portion of CMP’s service area, is expected to begin later this year, according to the press release.
“After completing the Larrabee Road Substation in Lewiston, energizing Section 229 is the second step in our efforts to boost the transmission capacity for the western part of our service area and meet the needs of our customers for years to come,” said Doug Herling, CMP vice president of Special Projects and executive sponsor of the MPRP, in a press release. “The benefits are many — more reliable service for customers, greater access to renewable sources of energy being developed in this part of the state, and jobs for people who need them.”
Irby Construction was the main contractor for the work, much of which took place in extremely remote and rugged terrain. Subcontractors Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield, Maine Drilling and Blasting of Gardiner, and Shaw Brothers of Gorham employed dozens of Maine workers and helped to complete critical tasks for the project.
Central Maine Power Co.’s MPRP is a $1.4 billion investment in Maine’s bulk power transmission system. The most significant upgrade in more than four decades, the MRPP will ensure continued grid reliability and improved access to the region’s bulk power system for the state’s growing renewable and non-renewable energy industries. The five-year project includes the construction of four new substations with 345 kV autotransformers, one 345 kV switchyard, plus upgrades to more than 40 existing substations, and the installation or rebuilding of nearly 440 miles of transmission line in 75 communities from Eliot to Orrington. Since the start of construction in 2010, the MPRP has provided a timely stimulus to the Maine economy, employing nearly 2,700 workers among contractors, consultants and suppliers, plus as many as 900 more jobs through indirect and induced employment spurred by the construction spending. CMP expects to complete construction on the MPRP in mid-2015.