Photo caption: Architectural rendering of the future Waterfront Substation.

Photo courtesy of Pepco

Change and construction have officially arrived in Southwest, bringing with it more business, more housing, and more electrical usage. The capacity of the electrical system is not something that is often thought about in our day-to-day lives, but if the capacity is exceeded, it could have an enormous impact on our community. Avoiding this potentially crippling impact is one of the main reasons that Pepco has begun the process of creating a new Waterfront Substation at Buzzard Point.

The current substation located at Buzzard Point was built in the 1930s and is at the risk of becoming overworked by all of the growth in the Southwest and Capitol Riverfront areas. It is estimated that this substation will be overworked by 8 percent by the summer of 2017, a number that has continued to rise.

In a statement Pepco said: “Southwest and Southeast Washington, DC are experiencing intense residential and commercial growth. Distribution substations are a vital link in providing new and existing customers electric service by lowering transmission voltages to distribution voltages to deliver electricity. The existing distribution facilities located within Buzzard Point Substation presently serving the areas are forecasted to be over capacity by the summer of 2017. The new Waterfront Substation will support existing customers and planned development in the Capitol Riverfront and Southwest Waterfront areas.”

Located on the site of the old Lyon Bakery and ANA towing yard, both of which have been purchased by Pepco, the new substation will encompass an area totaling four acres. It will be bounded by Q St. SW, First St., R St., and Second St. and will be located one block directly north of the new DC United Stadium. While the James C. Dent House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, resides on this parcel as well, Pepco has ensured the community that the construction of this substation will not impact the house.

With an estimated completion date of June 2017, the project will be completed in three phrases. The first phase, site preparation and design, is already underway and is estimated to last until the spring of 2016. During this phase, important environmental impact evaluations, assessments, and studies have been conducted, and the demolition of the current site infrastructure began during the second quarter of this year. The second phase includes regulatory authorization and zoning, with both the BZA and DC Public Service Commission having already ruled in favor of this project. The final phase will be the actual construction of the substation, transmission, and distribution lines, a phase that will be subdivided into three separate pieces and time frames for this project.

Pepco has worked relentlessly with involving the community during this project, and will continue to do so. They have set up a community advisory group, which will meet quarterly and exist for the duration of this project. It is designed to inform the community of what is happening during site preparation and the construction timeline, as well as to be a sounding board from the community about this project.

More information about the Waterfront Substation can be found online at:

By: Katelynd Mahoney
SWNA Fundraising Chair

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