UWF Central Utility Plant Switchgear Replacement

Building 40 serves as the University’s main central energy plant. The campus medium voltage distribution system originates in this building within a 50+ year old 15kV switchgear.


    • Location:  University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL
    • Facility Type: Higher Education / Sports & Recreation
    • Project Value:  Phase 1 – $557,000; Phase 2 – $2,500,000
    • Owner: University of West Florida
    • Services:  Electrical Engineer

Prior to construction, Dell Consulting performed a Coordination Study on the University’s campus wide medium voltage electrical distribution system. The study evaluated the campus medium voltage switchgear and 35 campus switches to ensure fault coordination. In addition to the study, Dell updated the University’s campus single line diagram.  The outcome of the study prompted the replacement of the campus 15kV metal clad switchgear due to its deteriorating condition and limited capacity to serve the developing campus. During follow-up studies performed by Dell Consulting as part of the University Park master plan and Building 58 master plan, it was determined that the existing switchgear and Gulf Power service was at capacity and could not service the projected future growth on campus.

The replacement of the campus switchgear was a two-phase project. The first phase consisted of a new Gulf Power 15kV service and exterior padmount switch to bypass the 15kV switchgear serving the Building 40 central energy plant and campus. This contingency switch reduced the load on the 15kV switchgear and provided the University the ability to maintain the campus electrical and hot and chilled water utilities in the event of a failure of the 15kV switchgear.

The second phase of the project replaced the 50 plus year old switchgear with new arc-fault switchgear in a separate walk-in enclosure.  The switchgear was designed with a main-tie-main configuration that allowed for a second utility feed in the future.  The new draw out medium voltage circuit breakers were provided with state-of-the-art SEL protection relays with event data logging capabilities.  This enhancement allowed the University to analyze the precise point in time a circuit breaker operated, or a power line event was detected.  This real-time data collection allows the University to fine-tune the switchgear protection scheme for optimum reliability.

The current configuration has both independent risers on the same utility feeder.  The advantage of this design is that any part of the electrical system can be maintained without a prolonged outage to the University.  The design also greatly improved the safety for personnel operating the electrical equipment.

Dell Consulting provided design and construction administration services for both projects under the University’s continuing services contract.

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