Post prepares to power up with new lines

By Spc. Leah R. Burton
28th Public Affairs Detachment

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — Soldiers, in conjunction with an Iraqi contractor, broke ground for the first power pole as part of the new overhead power distribution system Nov. 18.

The purpose of the new system is to augment the existing system in order to produce more power to meet the post's growing power demand.

"The existing electrical system on LSA Anaconda is not designed to support the amount of electrical load that we have put on the base," said Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Peterson, 3rd Detachment, Company B, 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power).

"The base was built in about 1982. Due to advancement, due to technology, due to the amount of equipment that we bring to war with us, we have a greater electrical demand than was ever thought about in 1982," added Peterson, "In order to keep the advancement of LSA Anaconda moving forward, we have to build an additional electrical system to power areas that were never designed to have power before."

The estimated completion date for the poles and wires to be set is in February, after which the 249th EN Bn. (Prime Power) will take over the high voltage end of the project and install transformers to relay the electricity from the power lines to the ordinary Soldier. KBR has been tasked to handle the low voltage side of the distribution project.

"KBR will wire from the low side of the transformer at user level voltage and wire from that into a distribution panel and on into your house, your admin trailer, your warehouse, your motor pool, whatever it may be to provide you the power that you need," Peterson said.

With roughly 751 small generators running here, the cost of maintaining the inefficient power source is astronomical. The cost to expand the current distribution system is more than $5 million.

The required fuel, maintenance and manpower that small, inefficient generators need to function properly amounts to an enormous cost to the Army.

"An almost unquantifiable amount is going to be saved by going to a distribution grid," Peterson said.

With the growth of the post and the power usage of each person here, it was inevitable that a new system would be needed.

"We know that this base has the capacity of 10 megavolt amps of electricity," Peterson said. "Well, when you take 35,000 people and put them on a post, and you say you're going to allow everyone to have 1.5 kilowatts per person. 35,000 times 1.5 is 52.5 megawatts. That is five times what the original base was designed to withstand, so you have to augment."

"If you don't augment, you're going to be continuously dependent on those small generators to meet the deficit that you have between what the main grid can supply and what is actually needed,"added Peterson.

This augmentation is a result of the natural progression, and as the post grows, the amount of power needed to sustain it will also grow.


news photo
(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Two local workers pour concrete into a hole securing the first new overhead power pole here Nov. 18. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Leah R. Burton, 28th Public Affairs Detachment)