Moody, Tyndall upgrade power grid

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jasmine M. Barnes
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron collaborated with the Civil Engineer Maintenance Inspection Repair Team (CEMIRT) from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and local power companies to install upgrades at Moody’s substation, March 19, 2022.

To ensure the substation continues to provide uninterrupted power, maintenance is paramount. De-energizing the substation provided the opportunity for Moody’s electricians to work hand in hand with CEMIRT, exercising real world training and provide continuous power to support the Moody AFB mission.

A high voltage sub-station is a configuration of circuit breakers, switches, and over protection equipment that safely transforms high-voltage electricity into a lower suitable voltage supply for Moody.

“CEMIRT was called in to help (the 23rd CES) repair a blown breaker and identify issues with the aluminum conductors,” said Master Sgt. Blake Meyer, Air Combat Command noncommissioned officer in charge of CEMIRT. “During the repairs and preventative maintenance of the sub-stations, CEMIRT technicians recognized the need for conductor upgrades to prevent similar problems from occurring. Once the 23rd CES worked the logistics of the outage, we got our team together and developed a plan to replace the aged aluminum jumper conductors to new more reliable copper conductors.”

In order to safely make these replacements, a local power company de-energized power to the Moody AFB substation. Turning off the high-voltage power eliminates any risk while performing the equipment upgrades.

“We perform quarterly inspections with infrared technology to locate and pinpoint any areas that might be susceptible to failure,” said Tech. Sgt. Dustin Haney, 23rd CES non-commissioned officer in charge of electrical systems. “Over time, the aluminum conductors were showing signs of deterioration, we transitioned to stronger copper conductor to eliminate the risk of unexpected power outages. We were trying to affect as minimal of people as possible to perform maintenance and switch conductors so they can give us more longevity.”

The team could have replaced the breakers with more aluminum, but they decided to replace them with a more conductive material.

“Copper is a better conductive material than aluminum,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Beale, 23rd CES facility supervisor. “We could have installed more aluminum conductors, but we decided to go this route and do what’s best to extend the life of our equipment.”

Performing substation maintenance and upgrading components help prevent frequent power outages that can negatively impact mission accomplishment.

“Every aspect of the 23d wing’s mission statement requires electrical support.” Haney stated. “A tremendous portion of our mission depends on the availability of electricity. Scheduled outages such as this, aid in equipping our airman with the skills necessary to provide home station sustainment and world-wide base support. If a base outage must occur, we want it to be a scheduled outage; any scheduled power outage is better than an unexpected outage.”