Proposed NE Halsey Substation Enhances Grid

In the last days of 2017, PacifiCorp purchased an industrial property composed of three metal-clad buildings at 9380 NE Halsey Street. In 2018, the power utility cleared all structures from the property and now proposes the construction of a new distribution substation at this Interstate 84 adjacent site. When completed in 2026, this location would increase capacity for Pacific Power’s customers and meet the increasing demand placed on the power grid.

Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp, provides electricity to Montavilla properties north of SE Stark Street. Although located just outside the neighborhood’s boundary, this distribution substation will play a critical role in maintaining the local power grid as service demands increase. “The purpose of the new substation is to increase capacity to serve customers, further improve reliability, and plan for growth. These are all long-term goals,” explained Tom Gauntt with PacifiCorp.

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Energy experts project that the region’s power demands will jump as developers construct new buildings and people upgrade existing properties. During the October 6th Design Commission Hearing, Commissioner Samuel Rodriguez noted that developers anticipate building transformers to increase in size by 20 percent to accommodate new Electric Vehicle (EV) charging requirements. He, and other commissioners, also acknowledged environmentally conscious design would increase power system demands. Many builders will rely entirely on electricity as they remove carbon-emitting natural gas appliances and heating systems from buildings. The increase in power-efficient devices has improved the burden placed on the power grid. However, taking over the work of natural gas, installing EV charging capacity, and the increased use of air conditioning will require more electricity than we currently use.

Pacific Power engineers are just now beginning the planning and permitting process for the distribution substation on NE Halsey Street. Final plans for the project are years away from completion. However, this addition to the power distribution network should be online in advance of demand, allowing for environmentally responsible shifts in construction and new electricity service for an increasing population.