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Section of transmission line to be rebuilt

In 2015 Chugach is planning to rebuild another section of its transmission line that links Anchorage with the Kenai Peninsula. Chugach originally built the line in the early 1960s to carry power from its Cooper Lake Hydroelectric Project to customers in Anchorage.

The importance of the line has grown over time. Today it performs its original mission and powers substations that serve Chugach customers along Turnagain Arm and in Whittier. It also serves as the only means for electrical energy from the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project to flow to utility customers north of the Kenai Peninsula. All six electric utilities in the Railbelt purchase power from the State-owned Bradley Lake project near Homer.

About 6 miles of the line is planned to be rebuilt in 2015. The project area runs from near the breakover structure on Powerline Pass to where the line meets the Seward Highway about a mile south of the Indian Substation.

The original line was built to 115-kilovolt standards. While for the time being the line will continue to be operated at that voltage, Chugach’s 2015 rebuild will be done at 230-kv standard to provide added capacity for the future. In the winter of 2012-13 Chugach did a similar rebuild of about 15 miles of the line, up and through Turnagain Pass.

The Indian-area project began with clearing of the permitted right-of-way in the fall of 2014. A specific schedule for the line construction has not yet been set. Chugach is hoping to be able to do the work while the Bradley Lake project is offline for maintenance in 2015. That would minimize the disruption to other utilities that will not be able to take their shares of the project while the line is out of service.

The $6 million project is being financed by a combination of Chugach capital spending, augmented by about $900,000 in State grant funds.