Field Notes: Lockstep in New England

Editor’s note: From time to time, Dean Seavers will tear a page from his notebook and share what he’s learned from customers, stakeholders, and employees across National Grid’s U.S. footprint.

October 19, 2015:  I like this picture and I’ll tell you why — it represents how lockstep all the teams involved in our major infrastructure projects are, from planning to construction, and all the phases in between.

Wakefield Junction Substation

Wakefield Junction Substation: From the top of the staircase down are: Venkatesh Minisandram, John Gavin, Dean Seavers, Jack Martin, Kelley Csizmesia Photo credit: Subhadarshi Sarkar

I spent a day earlier this month touring three of our New England substations, each undergoing a rebuild and/or asset replacement.  My head is still spinning thinking about the level of coordination between departments that is essential to get each project completed safely, cost effectively, and environmentally sound.

Each of these projects falls under the Greater Boston/Southern New Hampshire Solution. The work we’re doing here will help address the reliability challenges identified by ISO-NE, improve the region’s power system, and meet customer demand for years to come:

  • Sandy Pond:  One of the first 345 kV substations in New England dating back to 1969. We are building a new control house and replacing key primary assets.
  • Tewksbury 22A:  This outdoor Gas Insulated Station (GIS) was manufactured in the mid-1970’s using first generation GIS design.  We are replacing it with a completely new 345 kV GIS station, including a new protection and control system.
  • Wakefield Junction:  This is an indoor GIS in which we are going to install two new 345 kV circuit breakers and a 345 kV oil filled reactor.

It was a full day with a smart agenda. We received an overview of planning and asset management efforts in the Greater Boston area, plus detailed site tours. It was cool to compare the existing GIS in Tewksbury to the new GIS installation at Wakefield. Now I know what the new Tewksbury station will ultimately look like.

We often take for granted the massive amount of work that takes place behind the scenes. The employees immersed in these projects explained the work to me and liberally peppered their conversation with words like “collaboration”, “listening”, and “understanding”. They talked about process, feedback, and continuous  improvement. They reminded me of something very important: Connect21 is as much about stakeholder engagement as it is about pipes and wires. We are engineering the future of energy, but not without getting input from our customers and communities along the way. I couldn’t be more proud.

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One Comment

Heather Romero

I love this Field Notes from Dean. In particular, the key bite: “Connect21 is as much about stakeholder engagement as it is about pipes and wires.” Bingo!


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