Substation under construction near Longview Lake, College
by ZAHID AWAN
By June 2002, Utilicorp United will be able to fulfill the energy demand of 14,000 new residents of Lee’s Summit and Kansas City. The construction of a new electric power substation (EPS) has already started in the Longview Lake area.
The Kansas City-based international energy merchant is investing $5.4 million in the project in Lee’s Summit. Utilicorp has total assets of approximately $12 billion and annual sales of $40.4 billion worldwide. It also operates in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It’s subsidiary, Aquila, is one of the largest wholesalers of electricity and natural gas in North America.
The size of the substation is approximately 300 by 360 feet enclosed in a metal net fence topped with barbed wire. According to Tim Parker of the Lee’s Summit City Development Department, four different electric power lines will join to the substation.
An EPS works just like a big AC adapter. It collects high voltage electricity from a power line and converts it to low domestic voltage. This procedure reduces energy losses due to wire resistance. High voltage electricity is efficiently transportable but cannot be used in our houses. Low 110V electricity cannot travel for long distances without huge dispersions.
A typical EPS is just a concrete platform with huge glass poles and big noisy transformers. Now, a concrete platform with noisy transformers is under construction near calm and cool Longview Lake. The proposed site for the EPS has been a part of the protected Longview Lake zoning area, which is a separate zone classification from the surrounding area. It was created to protect the lake and the wildlife that populates the wetland around the lake. The zone is suppose to ensure that this major public facility would continue providing recreational, landscape and hydro-geological services to the community.
On August 15, 2001, the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved the change of land use. Pat O’Malley of Utilicorp told the committee he had meetings with both the councilman from the sixth district and various neighborhood groups and had received no objections.
Bruce Reed of Missouri Public Services said, “each EPS should serve an area with a radius of two miles.” That means in areas with dense population and high consumption of energy, there should be at least one ESP every four miles.