Image for illustration purposes

Lingle substation upgrades mitigate wildlife issues

USA, Wyoming, Goshen County: Western Area Power Administration has completed structural replacements and upgrades at the Lingle substation, prompted by the presence of turkey vultures.

The substation was facing a potential threat to its reliability from turkey vultures. The upgrades have benefited both customers and the birds.

“There had been several extended station outages because of turkey vultures breaking the minimum approach distance and causing faults on the main bus,” said Brian Bucks, electrical engineer. “When faults occurred because of the turkey vultures, the old post insulators were usually damaged. These old insulators are a challenge to find replacements for.”

“We had several customer outages in the Lingle area and to the west,” said William Weber, field maintenance manager. “These were all caused by wildlife getting into places they should not have been.”

The main work at Lingle consisted of moving the 34.5 kV bus and switches so that they would be farther apart, preventing the outages turkey vultures and other critters could cause. Doing this also presented an opportunity to make other improvements, therefore the oil breakers were replaced with SF6 gas breakers.

Additionally, the existing 115 kV brown post insulators nearing the end of their lives were replaced, which would mitigate outages caused by wildlife and thereby improve reliability.

“It was a big job and it might seem silly that all of this came from a problem with turkey vultures, but nothing is silly when it comes to reliability for the customers who depend on this substation,” said Weber.

Source: T&D World