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BE needs a new substation

By Staff | Oct 27, 2014

Because of potential new growth, the city of Blue Earth needs more electrical power, and that means Blue Earth Light and Water has to build a third electrical substation to meet the need.

At last Monday’s Blue Earth City Council meeting, the city voted to sell Blue Earth Light and Water (BELW) a parcel of land on the northeast edge of town to use for the proposed substation.

The sale price for the two-acre piece of land was $100,000 now, and another $100,000 in the future.

The Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA), which actually owns the land, had previously voted to make the sale and sent the proposal to the City Council, which must pass an ordinance dealing with any land purchases or sales.

“Right now, we are able to handle the electrical load for the city with our two substations,” said Tim Stoner, the general manager of BELW. “But any increase in the amount of load and voltage issues will be a problem. Plus, a third substation will take some of the demand off our other two stations.”

Stoner said since the other two substations are located on the west and south sides of Blue Earth, BELW wants the new third substation to be in the northeast area of town.

The property sold on Monday night is just north of the ball field behind the Blue Earth Area High School. It is on the northwest corner of the intersection of East Street and County Road 44.

Stoner said the parcel of land was their preferred site, although they had looked at one other piece of land. That parcel, located closer to I-90, was also priced at $200,000.

“It is not just because of the new North Industrial Park,” Stoner said, referring to the need for a new substation. “But, that is certainly one reason.”

Another is the EDA’s plan to try and build a new housing development for the city, located to the north and east of Lampert’s building center.

The 318 foot by 275 foot parcel of land sold to BELW for the substation is a part of the EDA-owned land that could become a new housing neighborhood in the city.

The sale price for the property transferred to BELW was $100,000. Plus, the contract calls for another $100,000 to be paid when the first house is built in the new housing development.

That second $100,000 will cover the cost of the water hookups to the proposed 40 building lots, at an estimated cost of $2,500 per lot.

Stoner told the council that the land for the new substation is larger than what is actually needed, but there is a reason for that.

“The substation will have a relatively low profile, like our one on Rice Street,” Stoner said. “But we want enough room to put up a nice fence and some shrubs and landscape to make it look nice.”