138kV Substation Planned Near UA

Credit: City of Tucson

By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX

Tucson Electric Power Company is proposing to construct a new 138 kilovolt (kV) electric substation on north Vine Avenue near the Banner University Medical Center in Tucson.

The project, known as the Vine Substation – which was formerly known as the UA North Substation – will be located on approximately 1.6 acres at 1602, 1610, 1640 and 1730 North Vine Avenue. The site currently houses the University of Arizona Facilities Management and Maintenance Operations Center, “which includes warehouses for parts storage, an engine repair shop, an outdoor materials storage area and office space,” according to the project documents.

The Vine Substation will include a new gas-insulated equipment along with a 25-foot mechanical canopy and gantry crane to go over the equipment, protecting it from direct heat. No buildings are proposed with this project.

The project will also consist of a 13.5-foot masonry wall that will completely surround the equipment. The wall will have a setback of 20 feet, and, according to the project documents, will match the University of Arizona 46 kV GIS Substation’s perimeter wall that is located just south of the site at the SEC of north Vine Avenue and east Lee Street. A landscape border will be provided within the setback area.

Tucson Electric Power currently uses another 46-kV sub-transmission system – also just south of the site – to serve their customers in the area. Some of the equipment/infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life and needs to be upgraded.

“By constructing a 138 kV system in the area, TEP can avoid overload conditions that can damage equipment, causing outages or low voltage for customers,” the documents state. “Construction of the Vine Substation will resolve overloading and capacity concerns, as well as replace aging infrastructure and improve overall service reliability for homes, businesses and other customers in the area.”

The Vine Substation is one component of the larger Kino to DeMoss‐Petrie (“Kino‐DMP”) Transmission Line Project, the 138-kV transmission line that will connect the Kino, DeMosse-Petrie, and the Vine substations, and is currently under construction.

The applicant on the project, Lazarus & Silvyn, P.C. is requesting a Special Exception Land Use Permit and a review of the landscaping/screening and wall design, color and material use. The City of Tucson will hear the project request at its April 9th Design Review Board meeting.

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