The Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association (OCREA) Board of Directors recently approved plans for a series of upgrades to the cooperative’s electrical distribution system. Wolverine Power Cooperative is assisting OCREA with the project, which involves the design and construction of a new substation, and associated distribution facilities.

The project’s primary purpose is to provide increased service reliability to more than 700 of OCREA’s existing member consumers including Michigan Technological University, D.A. Glass and other tenants of the Houghton County Airpark. The new substation is on Boston Road, 1.5 miles northwest of the Houghton County Airpark, and is strategically positioned to accommodate future area growth.

“This is an exciting time,” said Debbie Miles, the cooperative’s CEO. “We have spent the last two years working with park tenants as well as neighboring utilities to prepare for this expansion, and now it’s time to make it happen. I am so pleased that we will be able to provide our members with enhanced service reliability.”

Designing and constructing the new substation will involve coordination among four utilities, plus several local, state and federal agencies. The actual substation and associated electrical upgrades have an anticipated cost of about $3 million.
The OCREA substation will be connected to the transmission system of the American Transmission Company (ATC). Ontonagon County REA and ATC have executed a distribution-transmission interconnection agreement and are preparing additional documents to facilitate interconnection with the ATC system.

The preparation of construction documents and bidding for this project is expected in early 2015, with an expected commercial operation date of late 2015.