Facility to serve gas industry in the basin
MEEKER — Perhaps you have noticed the large pipe looking objects and construction activity at the junctions of highways 13 and 64. All the pipeline activity in the area might make you think this is just another pipeline project going through the area. Actually, those funny looking rusted pipes are tubular sections of “self weathering” steel used as poles to construct a 345kV (345,000) electrical transmission line. WREA is constructing the 27-mile 345KV transmission line from Josephine Basin, just outside of Meeker, to the center of the Piceance Basin.
In October 2006, WREA was approached by Enterprise Products of Houston, Texas, requesting additional transmission capacity necessary to serve proposed evolutions of the “Meeker Gas Plant.” WREA began planning with its power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, to obtain feasibility studies for added capacity to the Piceance Basin. The results of those studies indicated the need of a large 345KV transmission facility to serve the developing gas industry in the basin.
WREA performed all the permitting and easement work necessary to bring the project to the point of construction. In January 2008, Great South Western Construction Co. of Castle Rock, Colo., was awarded contracts for the construction of the 345KV transmission line, the 345KV Meeker Station in Josephine Basin, and the McBryde Substation located in Piceance Creek. Project completion is estimated at the end of October 2008, just two years from the planning stages to energization, normally a five-year effort.
WREA has also constructed numerous 138KV transmission extensions to various entities throughout the basin over the last two years. During the past few years White River has added several miles of transmission lines, distribution lines and substations to its electric system.
All of the facilities constructed on the behalf of oil and gas entities have been paid 100 percent by those entities. WREA has an “Indeterminate Class” customer policy that requires full contribution by the requesting party to eliminate any risk associated with the capital improvements to the rest of WREA customer base. It is very rare that a distribution electric cooperative would ever elect to take on projects of this magnitude. WREA has a valued relationship with local landowners, the BLM and other entities, which gave the confidence to proceed with this large endeavor.
WREA staff has been very busy over the past few years and it has become necessary to add additional staff and floor space. Working within the 1960s original structure has forced an expansion to the original foot print of the main office.
WREA is in the process of adding approximately 3,000 square feet in a two story addition to the northeast corner.
PNCI Construction of Grand Junction is the general contractor for the remodel with anticipated completion this fall.
As you visit the main office, please understand that you may be inconvenienced by the construction activity or temporary lack of parking. White River Electric appreciates your continued support and cooperation as it tries to survive WREA “Under Construction.”