Electrical transformer taking shape north of AustinPublished 12:02pm Monday, July 1, 2013
The Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency is using an area on Highway 218, just north of Austin, to construct a third electrical transformer. According to SMMPA, the $5 million addition will make Austin’s electrical grid more reliable.
Two existing transformers are both located at the substation northeast of Austin. With a third transformer, Austin’s electrical system will increase in efficiency and reliability, according to SMMPA. Two transformers proved insufficient when sections of Austin were left in darkness after a tornado hit in 2009.
“With two transformers, if we lose one, we’re at our limit,” said Rick Hettwer, manager of power delivery. “It adds redundancy and allows for load growth [as the population increases].”
Highway 218 will remain open during construction. Though work has been underway for a while, Hettwer is optimistic about its progress.
“The foundations will be in by next week,” Hettwer said. “We’ll start seeing more stuff out there by mid-August.”
According to Hettwer, massive rainfalls in the past months have delayed progress, but SMMPA intends to meet its goal and finish by Thanksgiving.
SMMPA serves 18 Minnesota utilities, including Austin’s, according to its website.