Dugway Proving Ground Maxed on Power? Growing Power Demand Sparks Need for Energy Conservation

Story and photo by Al Vogel, Public Affairs Specialist

SEA Resource Efficiency Manager, Sean Svendsen, is featured in the November 2012 edition of the Dugway Proving Ground Dispatch Newsletter.

Sean Svendsen, resource efficiency manager, reminds Dugwayites that their power cord reaches as far as Dugway’s substation. Rocky Mountain Power cannot supply much more than Dugway’s current peak demands – and greater demand is expected. Svendsen and others are examining alternate sources of energy for Dugway. A 35-acre solar array east of 5 Mile Hill has been submitted to the Department of Defense, but no decision has been made.      Photo by Al Vogel

Dugway Proving Ground’s demand for electricity is near the maximum of what Rocky Mountain Power can provide, according to Sean Svendsen, Dugway’s resource efficiency manager.

The demand is particularly high during the summer months, when offices require air conditioning and West Desert Test Center’s schedule teems with tests, exercises and training. At peak demand, Rocky Mountain Power provides Dugway as much as it can, given its generation and transmission capacity.

Electricity comes to Dugway on a single transmission line originating in Tooele, now at 90 percent nominal voltage capacity. Rocky Mountain Power, (RMP) the post’s only source of electricity, cannot supply much more than Dugway’s current peak demand of approximately 7.5 megawatts (75 million watts).

Most of the time, Dugway requires 5 to 6 megawatts, Svendsen said. In May 2012, Dugway’s demand was 6.5 megawatts; over the last fiscal year it averaged 5 megawatts per month.

“Basically, it coincides with the heat, but out here it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on at any given time,” Svendsen said, adding that major events can increase demand outside of the expected peak months.

Dugway has submitted estimates to Rocky Mountain Power of future energy requirements: 2 megawatts more each year 2013 through 2015, and 1.6 megawatts more in 2016.

Rocky Mountain Power provides 46 kilovolts to Dugway via a single, overhead 36-mile line from the Tooele substation, an RMP spokesman wrote in reply to submitted questions. The line was originally constructed in 1951. Over the years, sections of the line have been replaced as part of normal maintenance or damage.

Click here to read more about Sean’s efforts to reduce the electrical load on base resources as highlighted on page 7.