More power is on the way.
Residents in the Silverthorne, Frisco and Dillon areas should receive more reliable electric service this winter. An electric substation under construction near Silverthorne is slated to come online in October.
“Thus far the majority of the foundation and the steel work has been completed at the substation,” said Gabriel Romero, a spokesman with Xcel Energy. “The project remains on target to be energized this year.”
“There’s been a need for this for a long time,” said Ryan Hyland, Silverthorne’s town manager.
The Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSCo), an Xcel Energy company, has tried for almost 20 years to locate a substation in the Silverthorne area. In 2013, it finally got a site approved in the Angler Mountain neighborhood. The company is building an electric distribution substation and an overhead double-circuit 230,000-volt electric transmission line. The new facility is known as the Ptarmigan substation.
Currently, the Dillon and Summit substations serve all of Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco. The additional power from the third substation will help cut down on instances of voltage fluctuations, flicker, interruptions and outages.
“Reliability has been pretty poor in this area,” Hyland said. “Outages in the winter have been problematic at times. It’s been a struggle for our businesses. And depending on their company policy, they might have to shut down and go home for the day.”
And the need for more power is expected to grow by 2 to 3 percent annually for the foreseeable future.
At its Wednesday-night regular meeting, the Silverthorne Town Council approved several measures that will help the project roll along. One issue of particular importance to the town is the “undergrounding,” or burying, of power lines between Golden Eagle and Ruby roads. PSCo agreed to help pay for the project, which is projected to cost a total of $1.2 million. The town is only responsible for $60,000 of that.
The rest of the money comes from the 1 percent fund. Of all the revenue collected for electrical service in the town by PSCo, 1 percent of it goes to a specific fund. The town can then use money from the fund to finance undergrounding.
“Undergrounding means they take down the power lines and bury them,” Hyland said. “It’s good for two reasons. First, it has an aesthetic impact when you remove the lines from views. And it increases reliability, especially in the winter, to have the lines protected underground.”
The council also gave Xcel permission to use Cottonwood Park as a temporary landing pad for a helicopter.
“In September there will be transmission poles carried via helicopter from our Cottonwood site to where the transmission line is being constructed,” Romero said.
Xcel also agreed to pay for any damage done to Bald Eagle Road during the construction of the substation.