Elgin Community College in Northeastern Illinois had recently added a number of buildings to its 217-acre campus, but the campus continued to operate off an aging medium-voltage (MV) electrical distribution system built in the late 1960s when the school moved to its current location. The school embarked on a project to update the electrical distribution system and address load-capacity constraints.
Elgin Community College partnered with a local engineering-services company to design the updated system and hired S&C Electric Company for the project.
To improve the system reliability, the radially-fed design of the existing MV underground distribution system was replaced. A new underground loop design was implemented with a second feed to the campus to provide greater redundancy and to add additional capacity.
At the heart of the new design were two different types of S&C smart grid technology. This included two S&C Pad-Mounted Style IntelliRupter PulseCloser Fault Interrupters used on the incoming utility feeds, and Remote Supervisory Vista Underground Distribution Switchgear in between the IntelliRupter fault interrupters to form the open loop, according to a case study prepared by S&C.
With the addition of the second feed onto the campus, the new open-loop system added additional capacity to support the load growth of new and future buildings. However, this presented another challenge. The additional capacity meant the total load drawn by the campus during peak consumption may reach the limits of the school’s feed set by the local utility.