The new-and-improved Westover electrical substation has been operating and serving customers again since December.
Now Danville Utilities is concentrating on updating the Southside substation that delivers power to residents in the southern part of the city. That project should be complete in about two months, said Danville Utilities Director Jason Grey.
“We put all our focus on finishing Westover,” Grey said. “We pulled [work] off Southside to get Westover done and now we’re focusing on Southside.”
Both projects have entailed installing new equipment including replacement of an old transformer and addition of a new one at each site, new breakers, controls and monitoring equipment.
The second transformer still needs to be added at the Southside location, Grey said.
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The Westover substation serves about 5,000 customers, while the Southside substation serves about 4,500 customers.
The Westover substation serves a vast area including Dry Fork, the Berry Hill Road area and parts of Danville.
Southside substation, located off Hughes Street in the South Main Street area, covers the area from West Main Street and at Averett University in Danville, heading south in the Grove Park area, Southwyck, Druid Hills and Stratford Place to the North Carolina line.
The projects at both stations have included expansion at those sites to accommodate anticipated growth in the city, Grey said.
“We’re doubling the capacity and we’re able to have more growth in those areas if needed,” Grey said. “We have more ability to serve more customers.”
Also, adding second transformers at Danville Utilities’ substations provides redundancy, so if something happens to one transformer, that substation could still serve all its customers with the other one, Grey said.
The Westover and Southside substations are part of a continuous effort by Danville Utilities to upgrade its old substations that are about 50 years old.
Other projects in the works include a new $2.5 million Ballou substation for the Caesars Virginia casino resort in Schoolfield. That substation is expected to be complete in the fall of 2023.
Several projects, including a new electrical substation at the growing Cyber Park and an upgrade at another off Piney Forest Road in northern Danville, are included in a new capital improvement plan for Danville Utilities.
A Cyber Park substation project is estimated to be about $1.5 million and upgrades to the New Design substation in the Maplewood Avenue area off Piney Forest Road would cost about $4.5 million.
Danville Utilities is in the early stages of engineering for the substation, Grey said. He hopes to have it complete by the summer of 2024.
Equipment will include a transformer, several transmission and distribution breakers and monitoring equipment for the transmission and distribution lines.
The park, which includes the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and the Regional Center for Advanced Training and Technology, is attracting more industry and that has led to a need for a substation there, officials say.
Projects announced late last year from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Defense were two examples Grey mentioned to the Danville Register & Bee in October.
That month, it was announced that the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing program will expand by creating a regional training facility in the Cyber Park.
The Cyber Park substation would include 25 megawatts — enough power to serve 2,000 to 3,000 homes — and would serve less than 100 industrial customers, Grey said. The Cyber Park itself will likely take up most of the substation capacity.
In addition, equipment on order for upgrades to the Airside Industrial Park substation to serve additional growth in that area, Grey said.
“We’re bidding out construction for it,” he said. “The engineering is complete.”
Danville Utilities is also working on expanding the West Fork substation and adding a fourth electric delivery point for getting energy from Appalachian Power.
The West Fork substation sits on about 5 acres on Long Circle, off U.S. 58. Expansion of the substation’s footprint would include a new power delivery point from Appalachian Power.
Danville Utilities’ existing delivery points for Appalachian Power are off Kentuck Road, at Riverside Drive and Arnett Boulevard and at the Danville Utilities location at Monument Street.
Grey said he hopes construction on the project will begin in the spring or summer.