Entergy Louisiana recently completed the longest underground project in company history, adding to the list of upgrades that have increased the resilience of the electric system to improve day-to-day reliability and help the company and our communities recover more quickly following major storms.
Crews undergrounded approximately eight miles of distribution powerlines along Louisiana Highway 1 from Leeville to Grand Isle. This is one of two main lines serving the area, with the other being a hardened overhead line that boasts Class 1 poles placed into steel caissons (metal pipes) and backfilled with rock to create a stronger foundation to offset challenging soil conditions.
While the underground line brings significant benefits in terms of combatting high winds, the overhead line, also along LA 1, was built to withstand winds of up to 150 mph and provides the company an option for quickly repairing equipment and bringing power back to the area if both feeds were to be affected.
“The work we’ve done throughout our coastal communities is the very definition of adding resilience to the electric system,” said John Hawkins, vice president of reliability for Entergy in Louisiana. “Grid resilience isn’t a destination as much as it is continuous improvement, and although Mother Nature will always find a way to challenge us, we do believe continuing to make investments to harden the electric system will help Entergy and the communities we serve recover more quickly following major storms.”
He added, “It’s not necessarily a matter of whether the lights go out, but a matter of how quickly we can get them back on, and that’s what ongoing grid resilience projects are all about.”
In addition to the undergrounding work, installing larger poles and creating stronger foundations near the coast, Entergy Louisiana also shortened spans, or the length of wire from pole to pole, and installed lighter transformers and tighter framing of equipment to help reduce the effects of high wind on the electric system. The company also relocated some portions of the electric system that had to be rebuilt following Hurricane Ida from hard-to-access areas in the marsh to more accessible areas, another tactic aimed at reducing the time it takes to perform work and safely restore power.
“Upgrading and strengthening the electric system is among the ways we work to keep our state, including coastal areas that are important to the economy, an attractive place for families and businesses to call home,” said Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO. “It’s all part of our commitment to providing reliable power, being a good neighbor and helping create stronger, more resilient communities.”
Aside from projects that add resilience to the electric system, Entergy Louisiana also performs reliability work throughout the year. This includes trimming trees, inspecting and upgrading equipment and installing smart devices that help reduce the number of customers affected by an outage and how long the outage lasts. For more information on our reliability efforts, visit our Newsroom.