INL proposes expansion of power grid test bed

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The U.S. Department of Energy has released a proposal to expand the Idaho National Laboratory's (INL) Power Grid Test Bed.  

The test bed supports research, development, and testing activities to improve the safety and security of the U.S. electrical grid. 

DOE released a draft environmental impact statement to construct a new 16.5-mile, 138-kilovolt overhead electrical line on the INL desert site. It will include about 300 new power poles located next to an existing transmission line. That line will run from the Central Facilities Area through the critical infrastructure test range complex and end at the Materials and Fuel Complex.

According to the plan, the new power line will provide uninterrupted power to INL site facilities. Right now, researchers have to disable that power line in order to do their work. Once that is built, they will use the existing transmission line to conduct energized experiments and testing for national security missions.   

Fencing around a nearby substation will also be increased in size to support the larger equipment necessary for the additional power line. Several gravel test pads will also be built along the pathway of the line to support testing of power grid equipment. That will include diesel generators, transformers, circuit breakers, switch-gear, load banks, instrumentation, and battery trailers.

Release of the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment launches a 30-day public comment period that ends June 21, 2019. You can view the plan here.

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