Central Maine Power Co. (CMP), a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, energized the first major substation in the company’s $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program. The $57-million Larrabee Road Substation is among the largest facilities in the Central Maine Power system, and the new 345-kV autotransformer is the first of four to be installed as part of the company’s upgrade to its bulk power system. The autotransformer will step down transmission line voltage from 345 kV to 115 kV to supply the electrical grid for communities in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, and Sagadahoc counties.

“This substation is a significant enhancement to our bulk power grid in western Maine,” said Sara Burns, president and chief executive officer of Central Maine Power. “During two and a half years of construction, the MPRP has provided several thousand jobs when Maine’s economy has been struggling. With this substation coming on line, we’ve turned a corner, and we truly have the first piece of a stronger, smarter grid for Maine’s future.”

The Larrabee Road Substation will be the company’s first bulk power facility designed to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850 standards for protection and control technology. The IEC-61850 Protection and Control technology will be integrated with the company’s system controls to provide a new level of operational awareness for the utility, opening the door for automation and predictive-based maintenance.

Central Maine Power Company’s MPRP is a $1.4 billion investment in Maine’s bulk power transmission system. The most significant upgrade in more than four decades, the MRPP will ensure continued grid reliability and improved access to the region’s bulk power system for the state’s growing renewable and non-renewable energy industries.

The five-year project includes the construction of four new substations with 345-kV autotransformers, one 345-kV switchyard, plus upgrades to more than 40 existing substations, and the installation or rebuilding of nearly 440 mi of transmission line in 75 communities from Eliot to Orrington. Since the start of construction in 2010, the MPRP has provided a timely stimulus to the Maine economy, employing nearly 2,700 workers among contractors, consultants and suppliers, plus as many as 900 more jobs through indirect and induced employment spurred by the construction spending.