Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Update from Substation Design Work Group

Earlier this month, we reported the formation of a substation design work group. They are tasked with developing a mutually acceptable design for a substation Duke-Energy would like to locate on their newly acquired property along Clingman Ave between Patton and Hilliard Avenues.  The work group created development guidance criteria and produced multiple substation design scenarios. Duke-Energy has now completed feasibility studies of those scenarios and presented their conclusions to the work group stakeholders August 16.

Feasibility studies considered design scenarios using either Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) technology or Air Insulated Substation (AIS) technology. Ultimately, GIS design scenarios were concluded as the best choice. While GIS equipment is more costly, it requires less than half the development property resulting in a multitude of benefits that help accomplish scorecard goals. If you remember, the score card’s primary concern was to judge if the development would allow utilization and activation of the site’s perimeter; keep the transformer equipment out of site and invisible as possible, protect adjacent neighbors from consequential impacts and insure mutual community benefits in accordance with master development plans in place.

Achieving scorecard criteria with the smaller GIS footprint, makes it reasonable to house the equipment in a building walled off from sight and to locate the substation where it will have a lesser impact on adjacent neighbors. Generous landscape buffers beyond the central station are also possible.  It importantly allows gateway appropriate development of the excess property separate from the substation and could allow widening Clingman Ave from Patton to Hilliard Avenues lessening traffic congestion.

The Design work group plans further work focused on detailing GIS concept options such as exact substation placement and aesthetic details.  Future meeting dates are planned as follows and note they include a public information session.

 August 23: Evaluate and rank scenarios using scorecard
September 6: Finalize rankings and reach consensus
TBA week of September 18: Public neighborhood meeting.

For More Information:
Please join us at the upcoming WECAN board meeting September 7th held at Mountain Housing Opportunities on Merritt St. You are also welcome to email questions to Lynn Hall, lahall78@gmail.com. We will continue to post updates on Nextdoor, Facebook and the WECAN Blog, http://wecannews.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Information Update: Duke-Energy’s Proposed Substation in WECAN


Duke-Energy is working with representatives from WECAN, RADBA, SFB, Montford, the Haywood Street Congregation, several local developers, the Downtown Commission and the City of Asheville to develop a mutually acceptable design for a power substation at the corner of Patton and Clingman. At the first meetings of this working group, guidance criteria addressing site uses, neighborhood protections and aesthetics for the substation were articulated.
The Criteria was created to:
1) Ensure minimum impact on the neighbors adjacent to; and closest to, the site and,
2) Promote creative ways to hide the substation while supporting future growth and development both on and around the site.

A scorecard was created with six categories to compare and judge four development scenarios against the criteria and the neighborhood guiding principals:
  1. Prioritize planning that creates flexibility along the edges of the site so that future growth and development on the site independent of the substation can be activated and supported.
  2. Design and aesthetics to make the substation as invisible as possible.
  3. Technical constraints such as topography, cost and proximity to existing transmission line.
  4. Safety and security to limit health, fire and other potentially dangerous impacts.
  5. Construction impacts.
  6. Noise impacts from regular and temporary activities.
WECAN neighborhood representatives working to make a difference and bring forth the community voice are Recy Barnette, Joe Fioccola, Luke Perry and Pattiy Torno. Several other business and neighborhood constituents support them in opposition to the initially presented traditional open-air substation design. The Rankin Ave substation is an example of this design with the electrical infrastructure, chain link fence and razor wire in full view. Duke-Energy representative, Jason Walls acknowledges the proposed build site is a gateway location that must properly represent Asheville, the communities, RAD, etc. He and his management have publicly committed to consider necessary engineering technology and equipment alternatives to achieve project acceptance from their business and neighborhood stakeholders.
Proposed Upcoming Meetings (scheduling is subject to timely completion of work inputs): August 16: Duke-Energy will present the four proposals to the team.
August 23: Evaluate and rank scenarios using scorecard
September 6: Finalize rankings and reach consensus

TBA week of September 18: Public neighborhood meeting.
For More Information:
For questions, additional details or to receive future updates by email, send your request to Lynn Hall,
lahall78@gmail.com. We will continue to post updates on Nextdoor and the WECAN
Blog,
http://wecannews.blogspot.com
August 8, 2017