Austin getting another substationPublished 11:36am Friday, November 9, 2012
Anyone driving on Highway 218 north of Austin probably noticed a large area of land under construction. That area is part of Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s efforts to make the Austin area’s electrical grid more reliable.
Richard Hettwer, manager of power delivery at SMMPA, said the power supplier is adding an electrical substation with one transformer there, which will give Austin three total transformers — including the two at the existing substation northeast of Austin — when it’s complete in November 2013. Hettwer said the additional substation will give the system more reliability and allow for load growth as the population increases.
Hettwer cited the tornado that hit Austin in June 2009, which left part of the city without power for awhile, as a good reason for a new transformer.
“With two transformers, if we lose one, we’re at our limit,” he said. “It adds redundancy and allows for load growth.”
He said they don’t plan to close the highway during construction.