American Transmission Co.

Helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong®

Transformer installed for Darien and Paris Solar Network Upgrade Project

Construction of the Darien and Paris Solar Network Upgrade Project is advancing in Kenosha County. The project will support the proposed Darien Solar Energy Center in Rock and Walworth counties and the Paris Solar-Battery Park in Kenosha County.

Recently, the new 345,000-volt/138,000-volt transformer was delivered and installed. Using the transformer to connect two adjacent transmission lines of different voltages will allow for increased power transfers without the need to build additional transmission lines.

The transformer traveled over 825 miles from the rail yard at the Hyundai factory in Montgomery, Ala., to the Canadian Pacific rail yard in Sturtevant, Wis. An eight-person Van Dyke Bros Inc. crew from Chandler, Minn., spent most of June 8 carefully transferring the transformer to a specially equipped semitruck trailer.

After a Wisconsin Department of Transportation safety inspection on June 9, the transformer traveled the seven miles from the rail yard to the Paris Substation near Union Grove, Wis. The accompanying convoy included several Wisconsin State Troopers and their vehicles, Van Dyke’s remaining six semi-trailers and two bucket trucks that lifted distribution and cable lines crossing the roads out of the way to allow the transformer to pass underneath.

On June 10, the Van Dyke crew used large hydraulic lifts to remove the 200-ton transformer from the trailer so it could slide onto the concrete platform that is its permanent home. Their eight-person crew moves 30-40 transformers annually throughout the United States.

“There is no room for error when placing a transformer,” said ATC Senior Construction Manager Jim Huckstorf. “It needs to be placed as close to the middle of the concrete platform as possible. It’s a long, slow and careful process.”

To slide the transformer onto the concrete pad, the crew laid down special steel rails, using wood cribbing and steel plates to continually adjust the steel rail height and support the transformer as it moves. The crew continually measured and used a level throughout the process.

Once the steel rails were in place, a power pack generator slowly pushed the transformer across the steel rails into position. When the transformer was in the right position, four hydraulic lifts were set under each of the transformer’s corners and lifted the transformer off the concrete pad about a foot. The crew then removed the steel rails and wood cribbing before lowering the transformer into place. The hydraulic lifts also helped the crew make any minor adjustments to the transformer’s position on the concrete pad.

After the transformer was put in place, Hyundai’s assembly crew began installing the 24 radiators, reservoir tank and pipes. Before it can be operational, the transformer will be filled with 19,400 gallons (about the volume of a one car garage) of dielectric oil and tested. Once assembled and filled, the transformer will stand nearly 28 feet tall and weigh over 300 tons (about what a Boeing 747 weighs).

The control house is scheduled to be delivered mid-July and the project is expected to be in service in December. The 310MW Paris Solar-Battery Park is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service and Madison Gas and Electric have also filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to acquire the 325MW Darien Solar Energy Center. WEC Energy Group utilities We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service would own 90 percent of the two renewable energy projects. Madison Gas and Electric would own the other 10 percent.