Central Maine Power Co. (CMP), a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, energized its new Albion Road Substation in Benton, Maine this week. Putting the $42 million, 345 kV substation into service marks a significant milestone in the utility’s Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), a $1.4 billion upgrade of CMP’s bulk electric transmission system in Maine.

“Putting our second major substation, autotransformer, and transmission line into service marks a major achievement for CMP and the thousands of people who work as a part of the MPRP every day,” said Doug Herling, CMP vice president for Special Projects and executive sponsor of the MPRP. “Having our Albion Road Substation on line increases our bulk electric transmission capacity and reliability, and this benefits customers throughout the northern part of our service area.”

The 10-acre facility includes one 345-kV autotransformer, three 345-kV breakers, 10 115-kV breakers, and complete integration of IEC 61850 communications technology. The substation will serve as the junction of two 345-kV and five 115-kV transmission lines.

Maine-based contractors played major roles in construction of the Albion Road Substation. Sargent Corp. of Stillwater performed the major ground work, and Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield completed the electrical work. Together, the firms employed hundreds of workers from within Maine. Other Maine employers, including Precast Concrete Products of Topsham and Casco Systems of Cumberland, also contributed to the project.

Electric Power Systems (EPS), the commissioning contractor, which has an office in Brunswick, Maine, completed the testing and commissioning process to prepare the substation for the interconnection of one of the new MPRP 345-kV transmission lines.

Along with the substation, CMP energized a new 345-kV transmission line connecting CMP’s system to the transmission system serving northern Maine. The new line starts at the Albion Road Substation, runs 59 mi through 13 communities in four counties, and connects with Bangor Hydro-Electric Company’s new Orrington Substation. This provides a reliable loop to support the existing 345-kV transmission system. The line runs atop 437 wooden H-frame structures, and at the Penobscot River crossing in Bucksport and Winterport, two lattice towers, each over 350 ft tall, carry the line 2,400 ft across the river, one of the longest spans in all of CMP’s system.

As with the substation, hundreds of people worked with MYR Construction and Aldridge Electric for nearly a year to complete the project. Maine contractors included Shaw Brothers Construction of Gorham, Global Environmental of South Portland, and Maine Drilling and Blasting of Gardiner.

“We are quite proud of the efforts put forth by Maine workers and contractors to complete these key portions of our system,” Herling said. “Hundreds of men and women helped build the Albion Road Substation and the new transmission line, two more examples of how CMP and the MPRP are building a stronger, smarter grid for Maine.”