Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, has started a major expansion of an electrical substation in the Androscoggin County town of Livermore Falls. The $17 million project is part of the company’s $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP). Upon completion, the expanded facility will have the capacity to interconnect five 115-kV transmission lines to supply the distribution network serving communities in the four-county region of Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, and Oxford counties.

“Our investment in the Livermore Falls Substation will improve the reliability of our system for homes and businesses throughout the region,” said Doug Herling, CMP vice president and executive sponsor of the MPRP.

Contractors from Cianbro of Pittsfield and several other local companies have begun the site preparation work on land adjacent to an existing substation. Trees and vegetation are being cleared and soils added to create the new yard.

The installation of substation equipment will begin this winter. Once complete, three existing transmission lines will be moved to the new yard, and two more 115-kV lines will be added. The facility will include eight new 115-kV breakers and a new control house. The substation will also have a fully integrated state-of-the-art communication system compliant with IEC 61850, an international standard for substation communication and control.

“With this substation, we’re improving reliability, expanding capacity, and incorporating advanced communication and control technology the meets the latest international standards for substation design,” said Herling. “It’s what we mean when we say we’re building a stronger, smarter grid for Maine”

The MPRP will ensure the long-term reliability of CMP’s bulk power system. The project includes the construction of four new 345-kV substations and one new 115-kV substation and related facilities linked by approximately 440 mi of new transmission lines. The new facilities will reinforce the backbone of the company’s 40-year-old bulk power system and create greater capacity for the integration of new generation in the New England region. The MPRP is the largest construction project ever undertaken in Maine. More than 2,700 people are employed directly in the construction, and a 2009 economic impact study projected that the construction spending would generate as many as 900 more jobs through indirect and induced employment. Begun in September of 2010, the first new 345,000 volt substation will be energized later this year. The company expects to complete construction in mid-2015.