Essential to the community, planning for new substations not slowed by COVID-19

For the last several months, our community has focused on keeping safe and healthy as COVID-19 hits our area . We have limited our outings, maintained a six-foot distance from others, and worn masks. But through it all, essential workers, like ours at CPS Energy, have worked to ensure our community receives the vital services they need. Keeping the lights on and natural gas flowing is critical for the city and its residents.   

We have been working for this community since 1960. Our goal has always been to provide safe, reliable, environmentally friendly, services to Greater San Antonio. While providing electric and natural gas services for the community is a top priority for us, accommodating for the immense growth of our city has not been forgotten. New subdivisions, businesses, and apartment complexes are signs of the rapid growth San Antonio continues to experience. We have continued to work diligently to plan for that growth. From installing new electric or natural gas services for our neighborhoods to planning the construction of new substations, the pandemic has not stopped us from making sure our fast-growing city has the services it needs. 

According to SA Tomorrow, our city is expected to increase by 1 million people by 2040. This growth in population will lead to a greater demand for electricity. Staying ahead of the growth curve is why we have long-term plans. Sometimes, looking ahead years to identify where major growth and the associated energy demand is expected.  

To beat the population boom, our biggest area of infrastructure expansion comes in the form of substations. A substation is a local power hub or distribution point for electricity. Substations reduce high voltage electricity that comes from our power plants through transmission lines to a lower voltage before it flows to homes and business via distribution lines.  Substations are typically supplied from a new transmission line extension to the existing high-voltage transmission grid.  

Graphic illustration of how electricity flows from a power generation source to homes and businesses.

Midtown Substation

This facility will be located just north of downtown San Antonio. In September of 2019, a public open house was held with area residents to discuss the proposed construction of this project. In March, the property on which the substation will be constructed was purchased. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has been working on finalizing design aspects of the new substation to ensure construction begins in summer 2021. 

Scenic Loop Substation  

The proposed location for this facility is west of IH 10 near Boerne. A public open house was held with area residents in October of 2019 to introduce them to the project. This project is unique as this proposed substation and associated transmission project are outside of the San Antonio city limits. Because the project is located outside the city limits, the need and location of the new transmission line route will require approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). This approval is referred to as an amendment to CPS Energy’s Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) to own and operate transmission facilities within the State of Texas. Following approval by the PUC, a CPS Energy Board resolution will be necessary for the purposes of land acquisition and construction of the project.  For the past several months, project team members have been developing required documents to submit to the PUC this summer. The application to the PUC will include geographically diverse substation alternative locations and multiple geographically diverse transmission line route alternatives for the PUC to evaluate and consider. Landowners in close proximity to the proposed alternative substation sites and transmission line route segments will have an opportunity to participate in the PUC’s consideration of the project. 

Finding the right site for constructing a substation is not always easy, but it’s a necessary part of how we provide reliable and resilient service. Soliciting public input and feedback is a necessary step in the process of constructing a new substation. It not only gives us an opportunity to answer questions, but it also allows us to listen to our community’s concerns. It’s a process we will continue to utilize as demand for electricity grows and the need for affordable, safe and reliable electric service exist. 

For information on new substations and other infrastructure projects, please visit cpsenergy.com/newinfrastructure.  

John Moreno

John is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

John Moreno

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *