WH Substations

Substations are used to convert high voltage power from the regional electric grid down to a level of voltage that can be distributed into neighborhoods.

How many substations does WH have?

  • WH has 28 substations across the territory.

What do they look like?Lawndale Lane substation

  • The picture at the top of this page is of WH's Howard Lake substation built in 2020. It shows the actual equipment inside.

  • Substations with full landscaping look like this picture, to the right. The majority of their equipment is not visible through the tree coverage. This substation is in Maple Grove, Minn.

Do you have any current projects?

Howard Lake Substation - 2020

  • The Howard Lake Substation was recently rebuilt. This five-month project was completed in December of 2020.

  • Corcoran substation (planned, not yet started)

    • Why is WH building a substation in Corcoran? 

      • There is an urgent need for additional infrastructure to facilitate the scale and scope of new development (a new development or developments) in the Corcoran area and to ensure reliability for current residents. 
      • Based on recent residential and commercial growth trends, the load on the existing substation located at Larkin Road and County Road 116 is expected to increase by 50% over the next five years.
      • The existing substation location will not accommodate expansion due to its limited parcel size and capacity.  
      • The new substation will ensure WH will continue to provide reliable electricity to members in the Corcoran area for decades to come.
      • The location of the proposed substation is consistent with the City of Corcoran’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan and current housing developments.  
    • What will the project look like?

      • The property size is 2.224 acres.
      • The substation size within a fenced area is .75 acres.
      • The maps below show the location and a site mockup.
      • Corcoran substation location and mockup
    • Why did WH choose this location?

      • A robust due-diligence process was completed to identify a site that met all of the specifications for a new substation along with applicable zoning requirements.
      • This location was selected because it is:
        • Located along an existing transmission line that has enough capacity to accommodate future residential and commercial developments. The existing transmission line borders two of the four sides of the parcel. 
        • Accessible to WH vehicles. 
        • Accessible to existing distribution lines in the public right-of-way.
        • Optimal location in the WH distribution grid for serving the immediate growth and development needs of the City and for delivering high reliability to current members. 
        • Large enough to accommodate flexible landscaping options.
        • Located on an undeveloped parcel of land.
      • This location will avoid the need for building new or extending existing high voltage transmission lines. 
      • WH is in the process of finalizing all application requirements with City of Corcoran staff. The process involved several rounds of information exchange.  Several design changes have already been incorporated in response to City requests. 
      • Moreover, the substation allows the City to execute its plan for growth by providing adequate power and helps avoid the need to construct additional transmission lines through the city.The City of Corcoran has downtown development plans. This location is sufficiently far away so as not to interfere with those plans.
      • WH is a not-for-profit and all costs to provide reliable electricity are shared by the members through their electric rates.  Affordable electricity is one of our top priorities, and costs of each project are carefully considered.  
    • Will the substation be loud or bothersome?

      • No. The substation will:
        • Be professionally landscaped, including a three-foot berm and at least 96 trees (30% more than required).  WH is working closely with the City now to finalize a plan that ensures proper screening and aesthetics for the entire site.
        • Comply with all MN local noise standards and ordinances. 
          • At 290 feet (the closest residence), noise from a single transformer would attenuate outside to 25-28 dBA, which is about the level of a whisper. Source: https://ehs.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/decibel-level-chart.pdf 
        • Adhere to all building and zoning requirements.
      • Many homeowners in Corcoran are members and WH is committed to being a good neighbor. We will strive to be responsive to member needs and questions. 
      • Once constructed, there will be little traffic to and from the site.
      • WH has submitted a plan for storm water management.
    • WH, at other utilities, commonly build substations adjacent to residential areas in order to ensure reliable power. Consider these examples from elsewhere in WH's footprint:

      • WH substations