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Currin Substation Rebuild Updates

April 20, 2023 Robyn Smith, EWEB Communications

construction at Currin substation

Follow along as the Currin Substation, the first of 10 substations in 10 years, is rebuilt from the ground up as part of EWEB's Capital Improvement Plan for major infrastructure investments to rehabilitate, replace, and install new infrastructure.

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April 20, 2023 - By Adam Spencer, EWEB Communications

Commissioners tour Currin Substation rebuild

This week, Electric Operations Manager Tyler Nice, Systems Engineering Supervisor Joshua Ruddick, and Senior Systems Engineer Philip Peterson walked Commissioners through the remains of the Currin Substation. The once and future "Grand Central Station" of EWEB's transmission grid is nearing the end of its deconstruction phase. 

Built in 1962, Currin is the first of EWEB's 10 major substation rebuilds in the next 10 years that will increase load capacity to ensure we meet future needs and improve reliability by avoiding outages due to equipment failure.

Peterson is the lead engineer on the project. He explained that Currin is a major transmission hub with powerlines coming in from Bonneville Power Administration and Pacific Power and going out to power the Hayden Bridge Water Treatment Plant and the downtown core.

He said the upgraded Currin Substation will include redundancies that will allow for operational and maintenance flexibility, improving the reliability of this crucial location.

"What we'll have with the new Currin design is we can lose an entire bus and all the transmission lines and customers stay in service," he said. "We can have a single element be taken out for maintenance and no one would know just driving by because everything still has power."

"So the operational flexibility, the maintenance flexibility, that's what we're gaining with this project - in addition to all the new assets and new life spans."

As with all of EWEB's Capital Improvement Plan projects, the new Currin design also meets modern seismic standards for infrastructure to better withstand the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

That's why most of the work for the next several months will be hard to observe unless you're on-sight - it's all underground.

"All substations we build nowadays feature seismic design elements based on industry knowledge and IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering] standards," Peterson said. "And all of those standards tend to make foundations physically larger and substantially deeper. And all of that is to help prevent foundations and the equipment mounted to them from overturning or sliding during an earthquake scenario."

Peterson said he's excited to take on this new project

"It feels very exciting. This is the second substation I've built from the ground up and this one is head and shoulders, more complicated, a lot more going on and a lot more exposure to everyone. And it's awesome to be able to work on such an impactful project."

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April 12, 2023

Removing the old foundation

Over the past few weeks, we've been removing old foundation (pictured below) and other concrete at the Currin site. The old foundation is broken apart and hauled out with a dump truck for disposal.

Once this step is complete, the next phase will be drilling holes for the new foundation. Some of those news holes will be at least 30 feet deep to secure the new substation infrastructure.

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February 23, 2023

Deconstruction begins on Currin Substation near Garden Way and 105

The Currin substation near Garden Way and 105, was constructed in 1962 and is considered the “Grand Central Station” of EWEB’s electrical grid. A lot of power flows through this station. It feeds power from BPA and Pacific Corp. transmission lines to EWEB’s grid, connects power upriver to the Hayden Bridge filtration plant and to Eugene’s downtown electrical network. But, “Grand Central” is about to get a big makeover. 

For the past year, EWEB’s electric division has been preparing for a complete reconstruction of the Currin substation. Quite simply, it’s reached the end of its useful life. 

“We’ve discovered more and more failures in this substation over the years and the overall design of the station does not meet modern expectations,” said Philip Peterson, EWEB systems engineer. 

Since the early 2000s, systematic upgrades to substation equipment have made operation of the 60-year-old station difficult as old and new equipment is unable to work together. Rebuilding the Currin substation will increase load capacity to ensure we meet future needs and improve reliability by avoiding outages due to equipment failure or routine maintenance. 

While Currin is decommissioned, power will continue to flow from other substations that can easily handle the load and demand until Currin has been fully reconstructed, most likely by spring of 2024. 

Erosion control construction on the site to mitigate construction debris is just finishing up and over the next few weeks, crews will begin demolition and removal of the aging infrastructure. 

Your rates play a role in infrastructure improvements

Currin is just the first of several substations scheduled for a rebuild over the next ten years as part of EWEB’s major infrastructure investments through our Capital Improvement Plan for rehabilitating, replacing, and installing new infrastructure.  

The electricity we all rely on would not be possible without the infrastructure that delivers it.

From power plants to distribution and transmission lines, substations, and transformers — utility infrastructure is a complex system that requires investment and maintenance to provide constant, reliable power.

Visit to learn more about what goes into your EWEB rates and what you get for your money.

Pictured above: Erosion control fence installed at the Currin construction site.