New Lines Withstand Record Breaking Storm

New Lines Withstand Record Breaking Storm

New Lines Withstand Record Breaking Storm

 

The 2020 storm season has been unprecedented, and Entergy Louisiana has taken one hit after another. Laura, Delta, and Zeta. There is however a silver lining story to be found among all the devastation. It is a success story in which Irby Construction is a proud contributor.

In a joint venture with our sister Quanta Services company Dashiell, Irby completed the construction of 5.6 miles of 230kV new transmission line stretching from Nelson to Manena, Louisiana in June of 2020.

On the company’s third-quarter earnings call, October 29, 2020, the project was cited by Leo Denault, Entergy Chairman of The Board and Chief Executive Officer. While Entergy systems have required much attention in the wake of this year’s storms, Denault pointed out that recent investments in new lines proved beneficial.

“For example, in the past two years, we completed the Lake Charles and the Nelson-Manena transmission projects in the Lake Charles area. Those projects were designed to withstand 140-mile per hour winds. Every structure from those projects remain standing after enduring the brunt of Hurricane Laura, the strongest storm to hit Louisiana in over 150 years,” Denault said.

Hurricane Laura was the strongest storm to make landfall in Louisiana in 164 years and is tied for the fifth strongest to make landfall in the continental United States. Irby Construction was also part of the restoration response to the storm which required Entergy’s largest restoration effort ever mobilized in company history. More than 25,000 workers from 31 states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Florida from Irby Construction worked for weeks to restore power and rebuild downed lines.

Laura made landfall on August 27 and nearly a month later on September 22, Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) announced its utilities had restored power to approximately 910,000 customers who can accept power or approximately 99% of customers affected by the storm. All power was restored by October 1. A week later, Hurricane Delta made landfall.

The Nelson to Manena project in Lake Charles is just one of several storm-resistant projects Irby has constructed or is constructing. Florida Power and Light (FPL) has prioritized grid development strategies to offset storm damage via the increased burial of electrical transmission lines. FPL contracted Irby in April 2019 to provide ongoing technical support services related to customer outreach, engineering design, construction, and maintenance of underground assets.

 

 

 

Irby Restoring Power After Hurricane Sally

Irby Restoring Power After Hurricane Sally

Irby Restoring Power After Hurricane Sally

Hurricane Sally, a category 2 hurricane, came ashore near Gulf Shores, Alabama the morning of September 16, 2020 – the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Ivan. The storm brought to shore eight barges and caused billions in damage to the Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL areas, including breaking off a section of the Pensacola Bay Bridge. Over 2,000 power lines were destroyed, and it is expected that restoration could take several weeks.

More than half a million people were left without power, but Irby crews were ready in the area as the storm arrived, prepared to begin repairs as soon as Sally moved inland. Since then, over 160 Irby linemen have been working 16-hour days as part of a group of 1,500 contractors hired to expedite power restoration. With Irby’s help performing distribution, transmission, and substation services throughout the area, more people are regaining power every day.

With destroyed infrastructure and difficult conditions, Irby crews continue to keep safety their highest priority.­ Sally is the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the US this year, the most by this point in the hurricane season since 2004. Irby crews will remain at the ready until the end of this record-breaking season in November.

Irby Assists with Hurricane Laura

Irby Assists with Hurricane Laura

Irby Assists with Hurricane Laura

​Hurricane Laura made a Category 4 landfall on August 27, 2020 near Cameron, Louisiana. Deadly and destructive, Laura tied with the 1856 Last Island Hurricane as the state’s strongest landfall on record, causing billions of dollars of damage along the way, including some deaths.

Irby crews were in Louisiana before the storm hit so that they could be readily available to get the lights back on when the storm passed. Under the company’s storm contract with Entergy, 430 Irby linemen began restoration efforts performing transmission, distribution, and substation services throughout Louisiana and Texas.

Working 16 hours a day, seven days a week while living in “man camps,” linemen are the true heroes of storm restoration. With the help of subcontractors like Irby is bringing power back to towns like Lake Charles, Louisiana, where over 6,000 people were left without power due to the hurricane.

As always, safety is the most important part of any job that Irby participates in, and Irby crews will continue to work safely in the affected areas until the power is restored.

Irby Awarded Manatee Battery Project

Irby Awarded Manatee Battery Project

Irby Awarded Manatee Battery Project

Florida Power & Light recently awarded Irby the construction of the world’s current largest battery storage facility project called Manatee Energy Storage Center. This 409MW/900 MWh energy storage center, the equivalent of 100 million iPhone batteries, will begin construction in September and is scheduled to be completed late 2021. Following its completion, the storage center is expected to store enough energy to power nearly 329,000 homes for two straight hours. Read more about the project here.

Congratulations to Jeff Sowards, Substation Operations Lead, and his team for such a huge win. Good luck and stay safe!

Florida Approves Utility Storm Protection Plans

Florida Approves Utility Storm Protection Plans

Florida Approves Utility Storm Protection Plans

On Monday, August 10th, the Florida Public Service Commission approved the authorization of storm protection plans (SPP) for four investor-owned utilities (TECO, FPL, Gulf Power, and Duke Energy Florida) according to an article from UtilityDive.com. This multi-billion-dollar investment will pay for undergrounding power lines and other system improvements that have proven to be successful. FPL is estimating between 300-700 power lines buried annually from 2021 to 2024.

Some experts have voiced concerns that storm hardening may be a quick fix to a long-term problem, however, FPL spokesman Bill Orlove is confident in the project. He states, “These programs have benefited customers by successfully reducing restoration costs and outage times during major storms, as well as improving day-to-day service reliability.”

Read the entire article here.

Florida Utilities to Invest Billions in Grid Hardening

Florida Utilities to Invest Billions in Grid Hardening

Florida Utilities to Invest Billions in Grid Hardening

Florida’s investor-owned electric utilities proposed plans for nearly $19.4 billion spend on grid hardening activities to enhance storm protection. These plans are followed by a recently enacted state law to make more proactive investments towards storm damage and outages that the state commonly faces. 

Duke Energy Florida LLC, Florida Power & Light Co., Gulf Power Co., and Tampa Electric Co. are the four major companies involved in this proposal. Irby has worked with each of these in the past and some are current clients. FPL’s VP of Distribution is quoted in the S&P Global Market Intelligence article.

“Florida remains the most hurricane-prone state in the nation and, with the significant coastline exposure of FPL’s system and the fact that the vast majority of FPL’s customers live within 20 miles of the coast, a robust storm protection plan is critical to maintaining and improving grid resiliency and storm restoration,” Michael Jarro said. 

Read the entire article here