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Echo Hills substation in operation
Jan 29, 2013

Recently, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative brought its new Echo Hills substation into service. Erected in the Echo Hills Industrial Park, the facility is located in the general geographical center of Oconee County. A nearby 100-KV transmission line was tapped to supply the 28-MVA station.

System Planning Engineer Mark Waters points out that the substation has produced some significant benefits for Blue Ridge and its members. "On one side of the station, we've added four backbone feeders and have integrated them into the co-op's existing distribution system. These new three-phase circuits have enabled us to shift 586 members off our Westminster substation onto Echo Hills and another 522 members from our substation at Bountyland. As a result, these 1,100-plus members are now much closer to their source of central-station power."

One to two years down the road, Waters says another circuit is planned that will take some electrical load off the cooperative's Holly Springs substation. "Right now, it appears another 300 to 550 members will be transferred to the Echo Hills grid. That should prove to be a positive outcome for those members as well. In addition, the freeing up of capacity at Holly Springs, Westminster, and Bountyland will enable those facilities to absorb more future growth."

The majority of the substation's capacity is expected to be dedicated to serving any industrial plants that might make their home within the 400-acre commerce park. According to Waters, the transformer capacity at the substation could easily be doubled, should growth within the park create the need for such an expansion.

Blue Ridge President and CEO Charles Dalton notes that the Echo Hills substation represents another significant milestone for the cooperative. "Any time we bring a new substation on line, it's a cause for celebration. We're building more reliability and more capacity into our distribution investment, and that's good news for members. The co-op keeps re-inventing itself, and better quality service is the end result. Furthermore, it's a pleasure to work in tandem with Oconee County officials on a project like this. Those folks are intent upon nurturing job-creating economic development on the local level, and we want to do all we can to help move that important process along."

System Planning Engineer Mark Waters provides an explanation of the transformer control cabinet at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative's new Echo Hills substation. Looking on (L to R) are the co-op's Oconee County board members: Joel Davis, Len Talley, and Mendel Stone.



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