Old Dominion Electric Cooperative has begun working on a project that will increase reliability to its member-owner Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s Monterey delivery point located in Highland County.
The project involves the installation of approximately 5MWs of generation at the Monterey location and general improvement to the existing substation electrical equipment.
Jackson Reasor, ODEC president and CEO, said that the improvements will serve multiple purposes. “Primarily, we want to improve reliability to Highland County. ODEC’s generators will be used in the event of an outage from the transmission provider in West Virginia. That provider serves SVEC and another of our member-owners, BARC Electric Cooperative. The improvements we’re making will limit the amount of time that our members-owners will be without power.”
According to Michael Keyser, CEO and general manager of BARC Electric Cooperative, “Monterey has been one of our least-reliable delivery points due to the transmission feed through the mountains of West Virginia. Adding this redundancy at the substation, provided the distribution system remains intact, is the equivalent of several thousand customers simultaneously installing a backup generator at their house.”
Myron Rummel, president and CEO of SVEC and chairman of ODEC’s Board of Directors indicated that there will be other benefits as well. “As a result of the work being done, the generators will also be used as a demand response resource during peak periods of energy consumption that will help control our wholesale power costs.” He continued, “ODEC and SVEC will begin, in earnest, to secure the necessary local, state and federal regulatory approvals to add this much needed resource for all cooperative member-owners in Highland County.”
The generators are designed for sound/noise reduction, and each unit will be equipped with a sound enclosure to reduce its noise output to 72 decibels at 23 feet for the enclosure. This is less noise than the sound of a passenger car traveling 55 mph at 50 feet away. “We don’t anticipate that the noise will be a problem for anyone in the vicinity of the generators.” said Rummel. “They won’t be used that often, perhaps 40 hours a year, with the exception being during outage situations, when they might be switched on to keep on the lights in Highland County. And we do not expect that maintenance to the site will cause any type of inconvenience.”
It is anticipated that residents will experience very little additional traffic, with weekly or monthly inspection visits and refueling trucks visiting the site infrequently. ODEC and SVEC are also adding remote operability and enhanced monitoring equipment for the substation, which will aid operational decisions and help processes move more securely and swiftly. ODEC’s generators will be remotely started and stopped, and will have remote monitoring built in to ensure safety and reliability.