Transmission Project Growth on the Horizon

Transmission Project Growth on the Horizon

WIRES released a new report earlier this month, titled The Coming Electrification of the North American Economy: Why We Need A Robust Transmission Grid. The details of the report project that investments of $30-to-$90 billion will be needed by the year 2030, and significantly more than that by 2050 in order to keep up with demand created by transportation, heating, and data application sectors.

According to the report, the number of electric vehicles on the road and other electricity used are slated to increase exponentially, placing stress on the existing grid. Expanded transmission infrastructure will be necessary to support a fundamentally different energy economy anticipated. Read the WIRES press release here or check out the full report and all the details here. 

The new WIRES report prediction is good news for Irby Construction, a company that has a reputation a premier electric transmission contractor.

Planning for the Impact of Climate Change

Planning for the Impact of Climate Change

Utilities across the country are facing the reality of climate change. This scenario that presents some very real challenges for our infrastructure and electric delivery process.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment published an article in November 2018 by the U.S. government. They found that “the nation’s energy system will be increasingly affected by extreme weather events due to climate change. This will likely cause increasingly frequent and longer-lasting power outages.”

According to a recent article at states that climate assessment and the frequency and intensity of the floods will increase. The more frequent drought can be expected, and rising temperatures are a reality which will impact demand a great deal as well. 

The story entitled, Extreme weather alert: How utilities are adapting to a changing, goes on to highlight what some utilities are doing to stay ahead of the curve and some specifics of the challenges presented.

The fact of the matter is that utilities must adapt and Irby Construction is ready to be a part of that process. We are ready to plan, expand infrastructure, address regulations, and doing whatever else is deemed necessary to be proactive.

To learn more about this subject, read the story entitled, Extreme weather alert: How utilities are adapting to a changing climate at

Irby 2019  Superintendents’ Meeting

Irby 2019 Superintendents’ Meeting

The 2019 Irby Superintendents’ Meeting was held on February 27th and 28th at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS. Irby President Lee Jones kicked off the meeting with a recap of 2018 and where we are headed this year. We heard from a range of speakers in all departments such as Operations, Safety, Accounting, and several more.

Quanta Services Senior Vice President Jody Shea spoke along with three other Quanta employees, Jack Dwyer, Amanda Miller, and David Flener.

Our guest speakers this year were Steve Davidow and Kevin Hariar from Quanta Subsurface. They gave great insight into engineering in the SouthEast and geotechnical data.

Following the meeting on Wednesday, Irby hosted a vendor fair where vendors set up booths and visited with other Irby employees. Thank you to Altec, TNT Crane & Rigging, Can-Fer, Scott Powerline, Yak Access, and Tyndale for your participation. Hope to see you all again next year.

We would also like to thank Scott Powerline for providing our meals during the meeting, and Yak Access for hosting our Social Hour on Wednesday night.

Thank you to all who participated in the 2019 Irby Superintendents’ Meeting. Looking forward to next year!


Duke Energy- Port St. Joe to Callaway 230kV Rebuild Project

Duke Energy- Port St. Joe to Callaway 230kV Rebuild Project

Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10th, 2018 near Mexico Beach, Florida. Duke Energy’s 230kV 34-mile PX line from Port St. Joe to Callaway was damaged beyond repair. On November 15th, Irby was awarded the job from Duke with three months to remove and rebuild the line. Our preconstruction meeting was held in Wildwood, FL, on November 19th and work officially began on December 3rd.

Rufus Killen led field operations over seven subcontractors: Aldridge Electric, A&J Steel, HeliService Powerline Solutions and FireHawk Helicopters, ROW Masters, Probst Electric, and Thomasson Company. Gerald and Tammy Westmoreland ran all office operations while still handling their other Irby job assignments. Working six days a week, 12 hours per day, we were able to beat the scheduled completion time with no injuries and no environmental incidents. At the busiest time of the project, we had 220 crew members consisting of wire/tower removal crews, four drilling crews, multiple framing/setting crews spread over four yards, three helicopters (one BlackHawk and 2-MD500s), wire crews, one eagle’s nest, two boats, and well over 10,000 mats. With all the devastation, logistics and housing was an issue, many crew members driving over an hour and a half each way to the line.

We are proud of a few milestones- Day 39: 328 holes drilled and bases set; Day 43: all pole tops framed and set; Day 64: grounds removed and line turned over to Duke. Probst Electric averaged pulling and clipping a mile of wire a day with the help of two helicopters.

Thanks to Duane Bennet, Harry Carbo, Tim Edwards, Rick Lindsey, and Larry Etter for coordination of subcontractor daily activities. Quanta Safety was instrumental in safety oversight and conducting On Board sessions for every crew member before entering the ROW. Thanks also to one crew from 2036 and Irby distribution crew for their help when we first arrived on site.

Please continue to remember those affected by this storm. The residents in Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach were so welcoming and have made great progress in 3 months, but it will be many months, if not years, before this area sees anything close to normal. Our hearts go out to them as they continue to rebuild.


Cyber Security is a Critical Safety Topic

Cyber Security is a Critical Safety Topic

Last month the Wall Street Journal published a story entitled, “America’s Electric Grid has a Vulnerable Back Door and Russian Walked Through it.” The piece written by Rebecca Smith and Rob Barry details how contractors working for utilities were targeted directly by hackers and inadvertently provided access to those hackers targeting the power grid. The story tells the tale of unassuming companies floored when FBI and Homeland Security officers showed up at their offices to investigate what they had unknowingly been a part of. California-based cybersecurity firm Symantec Corp. is cited in the article as confirming at least 60 utilities were targeted and about two dozen of those were breached in the attack. The story is not only a page-turning read but also a clear calling for those of us in the industry to take cybersecurity most seriously. Being hacked has consequences that can reach well beyond your desktop’s ability to function (or not). This is a safety lesson we must as seriously as any other safety message in our industry. 


Electric Power Trends for 2019

Electric Power Trends for 2019

In a recent article, Utility Dive lays out the 10 trends projected to fuel the electricity sector in 2019. From renewable energy to distributed energy, here’s what’s to come:

  1. A Trump bailout will continue to be a threat.
  2. FERC will remain focused on wholesale pricing issues, resilience, and fuel security.
  3. The federal environmental regulation rollback will continue.
  4. States will increasingly push clean energy and climate policies.
  5. Grid modernization and performance-based utility metrics will become commonplace.
  6. Gas generation will continue to dominate.
  7. Energy storage will have its biggest year yet.
  8. Electrification will become a central power sector issue.
  9. DERs will become trusted bulk power resources.
  10. Renewable energy will increasingly replace coal.

Learn more by reading the full story here.