The Eastern Reliability Upgrade is an approximately 16-mile proposed new 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line connecting Intermountain Rural Electric Association’s (IREA) existing Kiowa substation in Elbert County with the existing Brick Center substation in Arapahoe County. The new circuit will be built primarily on single pole wood structures. It will create a 115 kV looped system allowing power to be fed from two directions, significantly improving reliability.
IREA currently has only a single direction 115 kV electric transmission line between Parker and Kiowa. This transmission line provides power to all IREA customers in the area. Under the current system, an outage sustained on any part of the existing 115 kV feed to Kiowa results in all customers “downstream” going without power until the outage can be repaired. Building a transmission line to connect the Kiowa substation with the Brick Center substation will provide a 115 kV service loop, allowing power to be back-fed to customers in the event of an outage, or during periods of necessary infrastructure maintenance. Without a looped system, maintenance work to improve reliability is difficult to undertake without causing outages impacting many customers.
As a result of the existing system configuration, reliability has suffered in the Elizabeth and Kiowa areas, as demonstrated most recently by the prolonged outages in the area in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016. The Eastern Reliability Upgrade will reduce the frequency and duration of outages.
Further, this infrastructure will support delivering more renewable energy produced on Colorado’s Front Range to IREA’s customers. Strengthening the electric system in this area is also necessary because of anticipated economic growth and to improve the delivery of health and welfare services in northwestern Elbert and southern Arapahoe counties.
As a member organization, community involvement is of utmost importance to IREA. Our project team will work closely with landowners and stakeholders early in the planning process to identify possible routes and to address any potential impacts to landowners or the environment. Please view the Public Involvement section for an outline of our public outreach effort.