OPALCO upgrades Friday Harbor Substation for future power demands

Submitted by OPALCO

Those who have gone to the brewery in Friday Harbor lately may have noticed some work being done on the Friday Harbor Substation owned and operated by OPALCO. This substation had reached capacity and as more community members switch from fossil fuels for their heating and transportation, electrical load is expected to continue to increase. In preparation for this OPALCO is upgrading the Friday Harbor substation.

This major project required all of the old equipment (much of it from the 1970s) to be removed. After the removal of the old equipment, they regraded the site and put in foundation supports for the new structures. The new structures will include new transmission and distribution equipment as well a control enclosure. The power structures are the big steel structures you see at substations around the islands. The control enclosure allows for monitoring and control from off-site. The new equipment will have enhanced monitoring capabilities that will make the local power grid more reliable and double the capacity of the system.

OPALCO is proud of the whole team that has thoughtfully planned and prepared this significant undertaking. The upgraded infrastructure will help future-proof our power grid as electricity needs increase and provide a safer environment for the crews. The old transformer is being refurbished so it can be used on Lopez Island to create a redundant electrical feed in case of emergencies.

Currently, power for Friday Harbor is being re-routed through other substations on San Juan Island. Completion of the project is expected by fall 2024 and the new and improved substation will have at least a 50-year lifespan.

Questions about this project can be directed to communications@opalco.com.

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO) is our member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving more than 11,400 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 97% greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937. Follow OPALCO @OrcasPower on Facebook and Twitter.