SALEM – Liberty celebrated an important milestone in a 10-year plan to modernize its electric infrastructure and address load growth in southern New Hampshire by ceremonially 'switching on' a brand-new electrical substation located at Tuscan Village in Salem (formerly Rockingham Park) Monday.
Liberty NH President Neil Proudman, Gov. Chris Sununu, state Senate President Chuck Morse, Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro and other delegates were on hand to flip the ceremonial switch at the facility, named the Rockingham Substation.
The substation is the culmination of eight years of work by the Liberty project team, beginning with an area study of the electric grid, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 when aging powerlines are ultimately removed and two 70-year-old substations are decommissioned. From start to finish, the overall project represents Liberty's largest ever capital investment in New Hampshire electrical infrastructure, with an estimated cost of $35 million over 10 years, expanding the distribution capacity of the Salem-area electric grid by 50MW, or a 100% increase.
"We're very proud of the Rockingham Substation and all the work our employees have put into the planning, design and construction to-date. This is their day, and they deserve to be recognized," Liberty NH President Neil Proudman said. "This modernization will ensure that our system can meet the growing electric needs of the Salem area and continue providing reliable electric service to our customers."
The Rockingham Substation was first energized in January 2022, a major step in a larger effort called the Rockingham Project.
"This investment in our state's electric infrastructure is a testament to the state's growing economy," Gov. Sununu said. "Modernized powerlines and substations like this will be needed to ensure New Hampshire's bright future."
Electricity provided through the new infrastructure will be used by every resident and business in the greater Salem area.
"Whether it's about business or residential growth, here in Salem or across New Hampshire, our need for reliable electricity is only going to grow," said Sen. Morse. "That's why this state-of-the-art Rockingham Substation is so vital. It's built to meet our expanding energy needs today and will support our electric grid going into the future."
The Rockingham Project aims to modernize the area electric grid, prepare the system for the advent of electric vehicles and lay the groundwork for the growing needs of the region
So far, five electric distribution feeder lines and one 115 kV supply line have been installed. The second 115 kV supply line will be constructed by the end of 2022.
A needs assessment of the electric grid and subsequent engineering studies kicked off the project in 2014. Liberty purchased the parcel used to locate the substation from Tuscan Village developers in 2017. Construction of the substation and first supply line occurred in 2021.
"It has been a pleasure working with Liberty," said Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro. "Liberty had a plan for modernizing its power infrastructure in Salem, and I was able to work with their project team while meeting my business's needs. I'm glad this will benefit not just Tuscan Village, but the broader community as well."
The Rockingham Substation and its associated projects are constructed to the latest industry standards, incorporate the latest technology and has the capacity to meet the electrical demands of the area today and in the future.