You are on page 1of 4


Public Open House

Public Service Company of Colorado
Proposed Ptarmigan Electrical Substation
Silverthorne, CO
August 5, 2009

Welcome to the August 5, 2009 Ptarmigan Substation Public Open House. This Open
House will provide the public with an update of our siting process for this project. The
Open House meeting format will be comprised of four informational stations staffed by
company representatives to provide information regarding important aspects of the
proposed Ptarmigan Substation Project. The subject matter areas to be discussed at
these stations are as follows:

Purpose and Need

Transmission Engineering
Substation Engineering
Siting and Permitting

PSCo has also assembled several questions and answers below to help provide you
with a greater understanding of some of the more significant issues that have been
identified by the public. Please take some time to read this information. We also
encourage you to visit the various stations, ask additional questions and gather more
information concerning this important project.

Q. What has PSCo done since the February Open House?

A. Following last February’s Open House, PSCo compiled written public comments
provided at that meeting and also those submitted to the company by mail and e-
mail. After reviewing those comments and performing additional design analysis,
PSCo elected to introduce “gas insulated switchgear” (GIS) technology into the
substation design, thus substantially reducing the overall footprint of the facility. This
GIS design is non-traditional and very costly, but is being proposed to help address
certain potential impacts of the Project. With this fundamental change, the siting
study data was revisited for the possible availability of additional sites that might now
be suitable due to the smaller GIS substation footprint. Two potential sites were
identified and preliminary site plans and photosimulations developed for this Public
Open House.
Q. Why can’t the Dillon and Summit Substations be expanded and additional feeders
constructed to the Silverthorne area?

A. The existing Summit Substation site is too small to be expanded. To add another
transformer, the entire substation would need to be rebuilt and adjoining land uses
make expansion problematic. There are also complications with supporting the
electric load to the Frisco area during a rebuild. Furthermore, the 115kV line that
supplies the substation is near capacity.

The Dillon Substation has already been expanded to its existing physical limits.
Expanding it even further would require new Summit County and US Forest Service
permits and the expansion would extend onto an old land fill, which makes
expansion even more problematic.

The idea behind the proposed project is to shorten the feeder distance to the
Silverthorne area to improve the electric system integrity while also providing
operational flexibility. Installing additional feeders from the Summit or Dillon
Substations does not aid with either of these important issues. In addition, the load
growth has been growing northerly in the Silverthorne area, thus requiring the new
substation being placed in a location to best serve this trend.

Q. Can the substation be located near the dam or the Dillon water tank?

A. PSCo is proposing a facility to best address the present and future needs of the
Silverthorne area and also areas growing to the north. Ideally, the feeder lines
emanating from the substation need to be less than four miles long. Sites south of
the siting study area may be under four miles to the load center, generally identified
as the intersection of HWY 9 and I-70, but feeders will exceed four miles in length to
serve areas in the north part of the Silverthorne community and beyond, where
growth patterns are extending.

Q. Why can’t the substation be located north of the town limits?

A. PSCo’s study area for the substation best addresses the present and future electric
needs of the Silverthorne area and areas north. As described, it is ideal that feeder
lines be four miles long or less. Sites north of the siting study area may be under
four miles long to the north part of Town, but exceeds the four mile threshold to the
load center.

Q. Why can’t the site be located on federal lands?

A. Approval of a substation on federal lands requires certain permitting requirements

including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Following
communications about land use policy with the US Forest Service, PSCo elected to
consider federal lands as less suitable due to the presence of suitable alternative
sites located on private lands.

Q. Why isn’t the PSCo owned parcel of land located in the Town of Silverthorne
considered a more suitable site?

A. The placement of a substation on the vacant PSCo property located in the Town
would require the construction of an overhead transmission line that would have to
cross the Blue River Valley, Highway 9, and parts of the Town. PSCo feels that the
visual impacts associated with this transmission line make the site less suitable
compared to alternative sites on the east side of the valley.

Q. Why can’t the transmission line be buried?

A. An underground transmission line would need to be constructed in a buried duct

bank along a gently sloped route comparable to a major county road. The duct bank
would likely consist of 6-inch diameter conduit laid within in a 3’x3’ duct bank
configuration. Large vaults would be required every ½ mile to pull cable sections
and splice them together. Additionally, at each vault an approximately 12,000
square foot leveled surface is required for the pulling and splicing equipment. The
overall cost of burying an electric transmission line can be up to 10 times more than
overhead construction costs and this area’s mountainous terrain can be prohibitive
to constructing transmission lines underground. In addition, a 10,000 square foot
switching station facility would be required at the tap point of the existing overhead
transmission line.

Reliability challenges associated with underground lines include the

repair/replacement time needed in the event of a transmission line cable fault. If one
of the cables requires repair/replacement, the substation would potentially need to
be on a radial feed for months during work activities, increasing the risks of extended

Q. How has the Lower Blue Master Plan been considered?

A. The siting study takes into consideration applicable local and regional plans,
depending on the jurisdiction at each site. PSCo recognizes that protection of the
Lower Blue River Basin’s rural character is a theme of the Lower Blue Master Plan
and each candidate site under the county jurisdiction is being evaluated for its
potential impacts to this theme. Important aspects of the plans that were analyzed
include, among others, land use designations, open meadows, irrigated hay
pastures, prominent hillsides and ridgelines, ranch lands and environmentally
sensitive areas.