The state agency’s authorization means CU contractors can now move ahead with grading and site preparation for the substation which crews hope to have completed in July, according to Dennis Daniel, manager of CU’s Electric Division.
Whirlpool had asked to have electrical power available to the new facility by Aug. 1.
“We obtained this approval by shifting the sub(station) slightly which would only require mitigation of .1 acres of wetlands soil instead of the original .18 acres,” Daniel said. “This change met TDEC’s guidelines and we are now able to move forward with our project.”
In their last formal monthly session, Cleveland Utilities Board members approved a $131,000 site excavation and preparation bid to Hampton’s Backhoe Service. Bids were also given the go-ahead for copper wiring that will connect the substation to the Whirlpool site.
These bids included an $85,000 amount for 6,000 feet of underground primary conductor that will feed electrical power from the Chatata Creek Substation to the Whirlpool plant; and another 2,000 feet in the amount of $54,000 that will serve as the source feed to the substation. Both bids were awarded to Stuart Irby.
“One unique item about the Chatata Creek sub(station) is that it will be the first sub on our system to have 69 kv cable as an incoming feeder,” Daniel said. “Rather than the traditional overhead 69 kv feed, the layout of this sub made an underground feed a more practical solution.”
The substation’s design will also allow it to carry approximately 928 amps of load instead of the 708 amps with the single conductor, Daniel noted.
Progress on the CU substation had been on hold after the wetlands soil was discovered. This meant that the public utility had to file for a wetlands mitigation permit from TDEC if the same location was to be used.
CU’s plan was to slightly relocate the substation’s placement, and this meant moving a smaller section of wetlands. The time required to complete the necessary documentation delayed the project, but Daniel said now that the permit has been approved CU and contractor crews are beginning the site preparation work. He said crews will be pushed to meet the utility’s self-imposed deadline in July, but that the Whirlpool request for power service by Aug. 1 should be met.
Whirlpool hopes to have the construction finished by third quarter 2011 at which time heavy equipment will be transitioned from the old plant at 740 King Edward Avenue S.E. to the new facility on Benton Pike. Once equipment has been moved, and production lines assembled, the company hopes to begin partial production by first quarter 2012.
The new Whirlpool plant and warehouse will sit on a 121-acre site. The development is a $120 million investment by Whirlpool. The total facility will comprise 1.4 million square-feet of floor space.