Indiana Michigan Power announces $62 million investment into new power substation, transmission line upgrades in Buchanan

NOW: Indiana Michigan Power announces $62 million investment into new power substation, transmission line upgrades in Buchanan

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BUCHANAN, Mich. – Indiana Michigan Power announced some major power grid upgrades just before the Thanksgiving holiday, with the construction of a new power substation in Buchanan, appropriately named the Bucktown Substation, just outside of downtown.

According to I&M Communications Representative Corey Ohlenkamp, the decision to build the new substation was made after they saw increased demand for power, as more and more businesses—such as cannabis dispensaries, have moved into Buchanan.

But to connect that substation into the grid, I&M are taking the opportunity to upgrade the transmission lines—which feed high-voltage electricity into the gird—leading from Bridgman and the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant to Buchanan.

“The two things that we really focus on in Indiana and Michigan are safety and reliability, and so upgrade projects like this are critical,” said Ohlenkamp. “A lot of that system is around seventy years old, and that’s got aging wooden poles and a lot of other equipment that’s not really up to standard anymore.”

I&M will install new, 90-foot tall steel poles, hundreds—if not thousands—of them starting from the Bridgman Substation all the way to Buchanan, around 20 miles of transmission lines.

“We want to make sure those are strengthened as much as we can,” Ohlenkamp said. “Obviously we’ve seen a lot of storms this year, across both Indiana and Michigan so we’re always looking to improve reliability. We’ve got these wooden poles, we know that they age and we want to keep that reliability standard up. Steel poles, they’re a lot more sturdy. They’re going to withstand a lot more and just last a lot longer.”

While construction is not set to begin until 2026—with an estimated completion date of Summer 2027—this is just one of 20 other projects I&M is looking to take on in both Michigan and Indiana, to ensure that their customers will still have power when they need it.

Ohlenkamp said “We want to make sure that every step along the way, from our power generation plants to the connection to your homes is as strong as we can, to keep reliability up.”

It’s currently unclear if power will have to be shut off to some customers at points during the project—though if area residents do have questions or concerns, I&M will host an open house about the project on Tuesday, December 6 at Lehman’s Orchard, located at 204 Red Bud Trail in Buchanan, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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