Energy East (formerly Rochester Gas & Electric) provides electricity to over 350,000 customers in a region centered around the City of Rochester in Upstate New York. With industry deregulation, Energy East shifted its focus from power generation to power distribution. In decommissioning a major generating station in Rochester, the company needed to update and improve transmission/distribution facilities as it brought outside power into the area.
To meet the needs of Energy East’s massive $115 million transmission/distribution project, O’Connell formed a joint venture partnership, Rochester Power Delivery, with two other companies. O’Connell provided new and updated transmission lines for the project which included installation of 40 circuit miles overhead, 50 circuit miles underground for 34.5kV and 115kV capacity. O’Connell reinforced the transmission loop surrounding the City of Rochester as well as the region’s connections to the cross-state transmission tie-line.
Cohocton Wind is a 125MW wind farm sited across the hilltops of a designated agricultural district in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. The $150 million project involved installation of 50 Clipper Liberty 2.5MW Wind Turbines, two substations, transmission lines, and access roads. Cohocton Wind is owned and operated by Canandaigua Power Partners, an LLC created by developer First Wind. The site provides enough energy to supply 50,000 homes in the Northeastern US.
Under a $7.5 million contract with MSE Power Systems, O’Connell constructed the project’s two collection substations, overhead collection lines, ten miles of pole supported overhead 115kV transmission line, and the New York State grid point of interconnect 230kV switchyard. Construction began in winter involving site clearing, excavation, and pole setting on the steep, rugged slopes of the Bristol Hills. The combination of our experience and fleet of specialized all-terrain equipment and track vehicles enabled us to meet the challenges of the project and complete work within the construction window, even with numerous scheduling, weather, and site access setbacks.
The overhead transmission line O’Connell constructed connects Cohocton Wind’s two collection substations on opposing sides of New York Interstate 390. Our crossing of the interstate coincided with that of another large area construction project which we successfully managed simultaneously without interruption to either. Throughout the project, O’Connell was able to utilize the regional railroad system for delivery of poles as well as removal of logs from site clearing.
Project management on the ground and back at the office maintained strong working relationships with area government and regulatory officials as well as regular communications with resident land owners to facilitate successful construction activities. Our experience working within agricultural districts and our utilization of local forces helped breakdown barriers that could have further inhibited construction progress.
O’Connell’s Technical Services Division commissioned elements of the system to ensure they met with the interconnecting utility’s standards and specs. We remained engaged in the project past our contractual obligations to provide counsel and help ensure a seamless energization of the system.
The Cornell Combined Heat and Power Project (CCHPP) is a significant capital improvement to Cornell's central heating plant. Currently, Cornell University purchases most of the electricity it uses, and generates heat principally through the combustion of coal. The CCHPP project will introduce two generator trains consisting of Combustion Turbines (CTs) with Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs), principally powered from natural gas, to allow the campus to use a combined heat and power system to generate electricity and heat the campus. The inclusion of these systems will fundamentally change the way the University operates its heat and power utilities.
As part of this overall project, O’Connell Electric is serving as the General Contractor for the expansion and rehabilitation of the existing Cornell University substation. The Cornell University, Maple Avenue Substation Renewal Project is being constructed to accommodate new distributed generation via the Cornell Combined Heat and Power Project and to increase the Substation’s capacity for future load growth. This project is converting the existing substation to a three transformer station with a three-bus 13.2KV Ring Configuration utilizing medium voltage vacuum switchgear. Each transformer will be rated 20/26.6/33.3MVA 115KV/13KV.
Albany New York’s Empire State Plaza is a ninety-eight acre interconnected state governmental complex containing ten distinctive office buildings, including the marble-clad forty-four story Corning Tower, the tallest building in the state outside of New York City. The Plaza was constructed between 1960 and 1976 at a total cost of $1.7 billion. The Plaza is on the New York State Office of General Services’ (NYSOGS) short list for administering a $73.5 million capital program to upgrade and modernize electrical and mechanical systems at select state facilities across New York.
As part of the NYSOGS capital program, O’Connell was awarded a $1.3 million contract to perform upgrades and testing to Empire State Plaza’s main substation. O’Connell has been awarded several contracts under the OGS program.
The primary task for this project involved removal of the substation’s original transformer, installed 45 years earlier, and replacing it with a new 34.5kV unit. The project took on an added element of challenge with the substation vault located several stories underground within the Plaza. O’Connell employed the use of 600-ton crane to move and place each of the transformers.
O’Connell provided temporary power for the project and performed systems testing. The transformer switchout was scheduled over a weekend to help minimize impact on Plaza functionality as well as on busy Capital District traffic and was carried out in one day. Through efficient project management and oversight by O’Connell, the substation upgrades were seamless to the 13,000 state employees who work across the complex, to businesses operating within the Plaza’s Concourse, and to the public. In the face of numerous challenges encountered in a short project window, all work was performed effectively, efficiently, and without a safety incident.
Casella Waste Systems owns and operates a methane gas-to-energy plant at their landfill operations in Angelica, New York—the company’s fourth LFGTE project. Energy East contracted with Casella to tap into this renewable energy power generating source. At full capacity the site is expected to produce 4.8 megawatts per hour of clean energy.
As an industry leader in environmental stewardship, O’Connell Electric actively pursues renewable and alternative energy projects where our expertise can be utilized. For this project we were awarded two contracts totaling $3.2 million. The work involved constructing six miles of overhead 34.5kV sub transmission line and a 34.5kV switchyard substation with point of interconnect (POI) to tie the Casella power generating facility into Energy East’s transmission system.
To meet power requirements for the new 235,000 square foot Life Sciences Building, as well as other projects in planning, the electrical distribution system for Syracuse University’s entire north campus needed to be upgraded.
O’Connell was awarded the $2.7 million contract to upgrade the north campus substation. This work involved installation of two new 10MVA transformers, construction of a new 35/15KV switchgear building, and new duct bank system. Modifications and upgrades were made to the existing unit substations. Several medium voltage cables and breakers that had failed over recent years were also replaced. In total, 5000 linear feet of new power and control duct banks were installed that included over 15,000 feet of conduit, 35,000 feet of 15KV cable, and 5000 feet of multi-conductor control cables. Project challenges were compounded by the steep wooded parcel where substation construction took place as well as the high student, faculty, and vehicle traffic volume that accompanied the duct bank construction. All surfaces were restored within a twelve week time frame.
O’Connell also completed a $9 million contract for major electrical construction of the 6 story, 235,000 square foot Syracuse University Life Sciences Building, the largest project undertaken in the university’s history.
Developer Noble Environmental Power, sells the electric power generated at the Wethersfield Wind Farm into the New York power market as well as renewable energy credits to green energy marketers. The wind park has 84 General Electric 1.5MW wind turbines capable of producing 126MW of power. The wind farm’s substation steps-up the 34,500 voltage to 230KV for transmission while the switchyard connects the wind farm’s power to New York State Gas & Electric’s 230KV utility grid via a ring bus configuration.
On the Wethersfield project O’Connell contracted with Noble for $6.5 million of electrical construction and testing work. We demonstrated our strength in several areas key to successful wind park operation: power grid Point of Interconnect (POI), switchyard construction, overhead transmission line construction, and total system testing and commissioning.
Construction services included a 230KV POI ring bus switchyard and the six miles of overhead 230KV transmission line. O’Connell’s Technical Services Division conducted end-to-end testing from the collection substation to the switchyard along with functional testing and commissioning of the switchyard.
The project was completed on schedule.
South of Buffalo, New York, on an abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant site, eight 2.5MW Clipper wind turbines are producing power for the New York State Independent System Operator grid. Called “Steel Winds”, it was a $40 million clean energy project developed and owned jointly by BQ Energy and UPC Wind. The wind turbines (the largest manufactured in the U.S.) can produce 57,000 MW-Hours of electricity a year with the power sold both to individual companies and utilities. Steel Winds is said to be the largest U.S. wind farm developed in an urban setting and the first sited on the shores of Lake Erie.
What started as a small condition assessment job on a retired substation by O’Connell’s Technical Services Group led to our getting the complete electrical construction package at Steel Winds, subcontracted from the Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group. We repaired and modified the existing substation to accept power generated by the wind turbines, installed the underground collection systems and overhead transmission lines, tower wiring and grounding, and ran fiber optics for all data communications. We wrapped up the project where it all began—at the substation—by providing final systems acceptance testing and commissioning. Today, we provide preventative maintenance services to the new site owners.
O'Connell provides comprehensive end-to-end substation, switchyard, and regulating station systems preventative maintenance, inspection, and emergency response services.