31.71 Miles of Overhead Transmission Lines

At Indian Head Naval Base, one of the area’s largest military bases by size at 3,500 acres, Summer Consultants was tasked with conducting a study of the existing overhead medium voltage power distribution system. This required the team, including myself, to literally walk (with some driving) the entire base – through woods, rain, and the freezing cold – to mark down the location of every transformer, switch fuse, and building being served by the medium voltage distribution system. For each building, we also had to mark which transformer served it. The base’s overhead electrical distribution system is a grand total of 31.71 miles.

One challenge was to identify which overhead circuit served each pole-mounted transformer, and we had to visually identify that circuit from the ground. This also meant we had to walk the same path for different circuits on different days.  In addition, we also needed to visually identify if the power line was made of copper or aluminum.

Not only were we following the powerlines overhead, but we also conducted building surveys to assist in providing load calculations. This meant we had to gain access to the over 1,400 known buildings on the base to review the size of the electric service for the building as well as HVAC, lighting and other large motor loads. While surveying the buildings, we learned the on-site library was once a torpedo loading station and still has the loading cranes inside.

This study has been the largest project I have worked on in my 18 months at Summer Consultants, and is still ongoing.  The project began in November 2018 and won’t conclude until the end of 2019. From all the walking, the hand warmers, and pizza lunches, it has been a great learning experience and will most likely be one of the largest arc flash studies at Summer Consultants to date.

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