Blymyer Engineers meets surging demand for substations

Demand for electrical substations has grown throughout the last five years in the United States. Workload at Blymyer Engineers reflects demand for substations, and our team has engineered 2,432 MWAC worth of substation output power since 2016. Currently, Blymyer is working on six substation projects that are under construction, and another six in the permitting phase. 

Electrical substations transform voltage as electricity flows to or from the grid. Substations are an important part of large-scale renewable energy projects. On those projects, substations increase voltage to what’s appropriate for power to be carried on transmission lines. They also play a vital role in distributing power—from both renewable and traditional sources—to residences and businesses. 

“We’ve ramped up our substation design services over the last few years to meet demand,” says Blymyer’s president, Mike Rantz. “The end-to-end engineering services we provide include physical layout and bill of materials, protection and control, relay panel development with wiring diagrams and relay setting. We also deliver complete structural design, which includes design of concrete foundation, and steel elements.”

“We’re seeing many return clients,” Rantz adds. “That’s why we’re growing our substation capacity. For instance, our Odessa office now has a team of engineers focused on substations.” 

One project at a time 

No two substation projects are alike. For instance, a substation near the coast must be designed to withstand salty air. A substation in the desert must be designed to perform in a very different environment even if it has similar output requirements. Take the Hunter project in Utah: The substation is located at a high elevation, which means the air has lower insulation properties because the air is thinner than at sea level. That difference impacts electrical clearance and equipment choices. 

“Our team enjoys tackling new challenges and finding the best solution,” says Alexey Kondrashov, a Blymyer senior electrical engineer. “We deliver projects all over the United States and internationally. Each project is a little different, and taking the site characteristics into account as well as specific requirements from client and utility is part of what makes substation design interesting.” 

“The level of detail in our designs sets us apart,” says Greg Mazur, Blymyer’s director of engineering. “We develop designs that include more detail than is typical for the industry. The result is higher-quality shop drawings because there’s less room for error or misinterpretation. We take that attention to detail into the field, too. During construction we visit the site to make sure the project is built as specified in the designs as well as take feedback from field to improve the quality and efficiency on the next project.”