AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — Xcel Energy expects a new substation on S. Western Street will boost reliability in west Amarillo neighborhoods where older existing substations are nearing capacity in the hot summer summers, the company said in a news release.
The $9 million upgrade involves the construction of the new Western Street Substation near 45th Avenue and directing existing and new feeder lines into this new power source.
Foundations have been poured and equipment is being delivered to the site in anticipation of an in-service date of June 1.
“Upgrading existing substations and building new ones not only make our service more reliable today, but prepare us for ongoing economic growth,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – Texas. “The Western Street project is one of many initiatives we’ve undertaken to improve the transmission and distribution grid throughout all sections of the city, and we’ve got more to come.”
The power grid in Amarillo is comprised of many substations, transformers and hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution lines. Transmission lines transport electricity from nearby power plants into the city. Substations transform electricity to lower voltages and send it along distribution lines that are located up and down city streets and alleys.
The flow of electric current is measured in amps, which can be likened to the speed of water moving through pipes. Voltage is much like pressure in water pipes, and is what allows amps to flow over power lines.
Commercial growth in west Amarillo has taken up more of the system's capacity through the years and a new substation and upgraded feeder lines means more electricity can flow to homes and businesses without overloading the system.
In the event of power outages, Xcel Energy has more options to quickly reroute the power supply in order to restore customers in less time.
In addition to the new Western Street Substation, the company is planning other improvement projects in the Amarillo and Canyon area in the next several years including:
The investments are part of Xcel's wider "Our Energy Future" initiative to strengthen and modernize electricity generating and delivery systems to enhance economic growth, job creation and quality of life in Texas and New Mexico.