A piece of Calgary’s energy history is in its final days and construction of its replacement is underway.
Monday, city-owned utility Enmax Power announced it had broken ground on the new site for the new Substation No. 1 – the biggest infrastructure project the utility has undertaken in its history
The project recently broke ground at the corner of 9 Avenue and 7 Street S.W.
It replaces a century-old substation that services nearly half of the city’s downtown electricity needs.
“That’s almost 20,000 metered customers. We support high-rise residential commercial customers, data centers, and even a health-care center in the downtown core from this substation,” Jana Mosley, Enmax Power’s president told Global News.
“It’s quite a complex project and our team has been planning this project for several years now. We go through a regulatory process to have it permitted through the Alberta Utilities Commission.”
Enmax was able to get onto the site a bit earlier than expected when Knoxville’s Tavern shut down operations earlier this year.
Construction on the $200-million project is expected to finish in spring 2025.
“It is complicated from an infrastructure perspective, transferring six different transmission lines and 24 different distribution lines that run mostly underground. But through proper planning and sequencing of planned outages, we don’t expect to see any outage risk to any of our customers through the construction of the project,” Mosley said.
Substation No. 1 opened in 1912 as Calgary’s original substation, powering early streetlights and the streetcar rail system.
“(It) has played a crucial role in the history of our city and this replacement ensures it will play an equally important role in our future,” said Kurtis Hildebrandt, Enmax Power’s director of regulatory reporting and strategy and student of the city’s history of electricity said.
Enmax will be working with the City of Calgary to limit disruptions, including minimizing lane closures or working during off-peak travel times for pedestrians. Mosley anticipated there would have to be some rerouting of walkways during the construction.
“Certainly we understand that this can create some inconveniences. I just really want to thank people in advance for their understanding as we work to deliver our commitment to providing safe and reliable service to all Calgarians.”