Looking to keep up with growth in Sussex County, while also providing reliable service, the Delaware Electric Cooperative continues to move forward with plans for a new substation near Lewes.
DEC received preliminary site-plan approval for the substation, to be located at the intersection of Cedar Grove and Plantation roads, from the county in June. In mid-July, the company purchased the approximately 9-acre lot for $1 million.
Company spokesman Jeremy Tucker said the DEC has experienced explosive growth in eastern Sussex County over the past decade. To ensure continued reliable service and to keep up with growing loads near the beaches, DEC needs to build a new substation along Cedar Grove Road, he said in an email Aug. 23.
When complete, the project will reduce strain on power lines and equipment, enhance DEC’s ability to remotely restore power through automated devices in the field, and allow DEC to power the growing number of new homes and businesses in the beach areas, said Tucker.
The substation will be fed by a 69-kilovolt transmission line from Delmarva Power transmission line, is rated at 20 megavolt amperes, and is expected to power 5,773 homes in the Lewes, Rehoboth and Angola areas, said Tucker. The estimated cost of the Lewes substation is approximately $3.5 million, he said.
The Lewes-area substation will be built after a new substation in the Georgetown area is completed and energized later this fall, said Tucker. The DEC is still in the early planning phase with the project, and has not set a firm construction date, but the facility will be built over the next few years, he said.
Looking beyond the Georgetown- and Lewes-area substations, the cooperative will need to add substations across its service territory in the future, said Tucker. However, he said, exact locations have not been determined and the projects are likely years away from starting.
Tucker said the cooperative currently serves 112,000 homes, farms and businesses. The expectation is to add about 4,000 new services per year for the next few years, he said.