138 Kilovolt Substation Planned for Tucson

Credit: City of Tucson

By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX 

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is requesting approval of an electric substation use as a Special Exception land use in Tucson’s Suburban Ranch zone in order to build an electric distribution substation on the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. 

Known as the Patriot Substation, the project is proposed to include a new 138 kilovolt electric power substation, along with transmission and distribution power lines that will connect with TEP’s Irvington Campus. The project includes two transformers, switchgear and other equipment. There are no buildings proposed with this project. 

Patriot Substation will be located on a 15.78-acre parcel at the SWC of East Escalante and South Kolb Roads, which is currently housing the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group military aircraft storage at the base. 

“The project will support the Department of Defense (DOD) mandate to enhance energy resilience and provide backup support for other TEP substations in east Tucson,” according to the submitted project documents. “The project will also allow TEP to strengthen and modernize the infrastructure that provides service to customers in the area, both on and outside the base. Additionally, the Project will support TEP’s long-term goal of retiring several older 46 kV substations in the area.” 

To stay compatible with surrounding residential and commercial uses, TEP will build a 12-foot masonry security wall and 35-foot landscape border along Escalante Road adjacent to the Aviation Greenway multi-use path. Along Kolb Road the wall will continue and there will also be a 126-foot-wide desert-adapted landscape drainage border. The documents state that adjacent to that border, Proposition 407 is proposing a multi-use path along Kolb Road. 

“The construction of this project will strengthen energy infrastructure in the area, increase service reliability for customers and improve the recreational experience of pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.” 

Access to the substation will be from two paved asphalt driveways. The first one will align with Lighting Flyer Road to the north and the second will be located +/-200 feet to the west. Entrance to the gated station will be via card reader. An electronic security system including cameras will be included on site. 

According to TEP and the project webpage, construction is anticipated to begin this July and be in service sometime in 2022. The City of Tucson heard the Special Exception request at its May 21st Design Review Board meeting. 

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