Partnering to take the power underground

March 21, 2022

Underground transmission services for every step of the project

horizontal directional drilling

Horizontal directional drilling.

The demand for more solar, wind, and other renewable energy is growing, yet generating that energy is only half of the challenge. The other half is transmission – transporting energy from remote turbines and power cells and delivering it to the homes and businesses that rely on it. Traditional overhead transmission lines are susceptible to hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and other events that can cause power outages when power is needed most. Beyond that, landowners and communities may be reluctant to have transmission towers on their property.

To solve this problem for current and future projects, public utilities and private power companies are looking to underground transmission lines. Terracon has partnered with clients on more than 12,000 transmission line projects totaling more than $205 million since 2015. Our combination of environmental, geotechnical, and materials services, along with the local expertise of professionals in offices across the country, allows us to contribute to every phase of an underground transmission project, from conception to construction.

Intuitive location intelligence solutions

Location intelligence is essential to a successful underground transmission project, and we provide clients with two unique offerings. Pivvot, an online routing service, provides parcel, environmental, land, and other information from thousands of data sources to analyze potential answers to one key question: Where is the best path from A to B? Terracon’s Stage1 service, meanwhile, supplies preliminary environmental and geotechnical data for linear project sites, so clients know what to expect when it’s time for traditional due diligence. Together, these desktop solutions can help clients route underground transmission projects from anywhere.

Services where and when you need them

Time is always a factor, and Terracon has the resources to keep pace when it’s time to break ground. We own and operate one of the nation’s largest fleet of exploration rigs and have the ability to get equipment where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Terracon has significant experience in developing exploration and laboratory testing programs for trenchless construction projects such as:

  • Horizontal directional drilling (HDD)
  • Jack and bore
  • Microtunneling
  • Tunnel boring machine
  • Pipe jacking

We can support the design team with a variety of services, including:

  • Alignment selection
  • Feasibility and construction considerations
  • In-situ and laboratory thermal and electrical resistivity testing
  • Hydrofracture inadvertent return analysis
  • Ground settlement analysis
  • Settlement monitoring programs
  • Temporary earth retention system design
  • Specification and construction plan preparation and review
  • Construction monitoring

We have the resources to meet schedule needs, knowledge of the market, and local expertise to recommend the right geotechnical services and exploration equipment to get the job done right the first time.

underground cables

Underground cables.

Terracon provided geotechnical engineering services for a 350-mile, 525kV underground transmission line project in the Midwest that included performing hundreds of borings on land and water. Terracon drew on their knowledge of the various project design and construction elements to provide review of project specifications and collaborated with the Owner and the engineering team to implement project-specific field and laboratory testing programs and geotechnical engineering services needed for construction of the project.  The results of the geotechnical programs enabled the owner to design an economical cable system and identify project areas that will require special design and construction considerations.

As the demand for renewable energy grows, it’s important to protect transmission lines from environmental impacts. Underground lines are the solution, and we have the services to help you meet project challenges at every step.

Jason Heinz, P.E.

Jason Heinz, P.E., is a senior geotechnical engineer for Terracon and has over 25 years of experience with power distribution and transmission and renewable energy projects.

He also supports Terracon’s operations nationally for trenchless construction projects.


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