News Releases

New'Phase Shifter'Regulates Flow of Electricity for Alturus Intertie

May 31, 1998

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Karl Walquist/Robert Sagan
Phone: 775.834.4345

For Immediate Release

The largest single piece of equipment required for the Alturas Intertie Project - a 700-ton phase angle regulating transformer or"phase shifter" -- is arriving in Reno by rail this week. It will be unloaded from railcars north of Reno near Bordertown on Wednesday and hauled by a special tractor-trailer rig to the new Bordertown Substation.

The phase shifter will allow Sierra Pacific Power Co. to regulate the flow of the electricity that will be delivered to northern Nevada and northeastern California by the Alturas Intertie, according to Ingo Nikoley, supervisor of substation engineering for Sierra Pacific.

Once completed in late 1998, the new 345,000-volt electric transmission line will enable Sierra Pacific to import up to 300 megawatts of energy from the Pacific Northwest, nearly doubling the utility's capacity to import electricity from other utilities. It will improve the reliability of Sierra Pacific's electric transmission system and enable the utility to serve the region's growing need for electricity.

The $5.6 million phase shifter was built in Muncie, Ind., by a Swedish company, ABB Power Company, Inc. It is capable of regulating up to 300,000 kilowatts of electricity, or enough energy to serve about half of the Reno-Sparks area. Sierra Pacific has smaller phase shifters at its Fort Churchill Power Plant near Yerington and at a substation near Verdi.

A phase shifter is similar to an electric transformer, but unlike a transformer it can control the direction of the flow of energy between two interconnected electrical systems, allowing utilities to both import and export electricity. (During 1997, approximately 35 percent of the electricity for Sierra Pacific's customers was imported from out-of-state utilities and about 9 percent was purchased from in-state geothermal power plants.)

The phase shifter is 30 feet high, 51 feet long and 45 feet wide. It will be placed on a concrete pad in the 16-acre substation, which will be fenced and extensively landscaped. The phase shifter will be connected to Sierra Pacific's North Valley Road Substation via the Alturas Intertie.

Construction of the intertie began in February of 1998 and is expected to be completed by year-end.