Jim Burson is director of transmission operations.
SWTC delivers wholesale cooperative energy from AEPCO’s Apache Power Generating Station in Cochise, Ariz., to its six member distribution electric co-ops, which serve members in Arizona, California and New Mexico. Here are a few facts about SWTC’s system.
- 622 miles electric power transmission line
- 27 substations
- 30 telecommunications towers
- 35 transformers, including partial ownership transformers
- 2,995,547 installed kVA capacity
SWTC has always been a leader in transmitting safe, reliable electric service, and we continue to find ways to enhance service and save costs. Electric co-op consumers across Arizona are benefiting from our work on the smart grid, which enhances electric reliability. The smart grid helps us detect problems more quickly and leads to fewer outages. It also helps us hold down costs.
In partnership with two member cooperatives, we were awarded $32 million in stimulus grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to help us continue building the smart grid. Our partners are Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Mohave Electric Cooperative, Inc. The grant enhances smart grid technology on more than 6,400 miles of transmission and distribution power lines. The work involves adding fiber optic communications over our lines and further automating substations, boosting our ability to digitally monitor and control our network from remote locations. Grant-related work will be completed in 2014.
Delivery reliable electricity requires a lot of communication. We communicate with our network and with our members through 30 telecommunications towers based along SWTC’s lines. An employee in Bullhead City can talk to another team member in Safford, and both can view the status of various points along our network in real time.
We depend on high-tech systems more than ever. Our engineering team uses new GPS-based LIDAR mapping technology that takes extremely precise measurements of our network. As a result, parts of the network can carry added load without the need for costly upgrades.