Electric Grid Infrastructure

Our teams offer the expertise and resources to assess, plan, engineer, and commission the vital facilities of resilient and efficient electric grid systems.

Proven Capabilities to Support Your Projects

Our experienced, multidiscipline project teams offer the full range of comprehensive services necessary to successfully execute all aspects of electric grid projects. From cross-country bulk power transmission lines to enclosed gas-insulated substations tucked into tightly constrained urban locations to electronic fleet applications, Sargent & Lundy is your partner to meet the complex challenges facing electric grid delivery projects. Working in close collaboration with our clients, teams are staffed with the specific resources required to fulfill each project need. With a clear focus on quality, our proven project management skills and tools are applied to all tasks to achieve budget and schedule commitments.

Spotlight Technologies:

  • Transmission Line Uprating
    Daunting challenges with permitting, licensing, and right-of-way acquisition for new transmission lines have driven many transmission owners to maximize the utilization of existing rights-of-way to gain additional power transfer capacity. This can include reconfiguring or rebuilding existing lines to increase the number of circuits in the right-of-way or uprating existing lines. We have significant experience with transmission line rebuilding and updating projects and can apply this expertise to finding the cost-effective design for your situation. Sargent & Lundy has developed compact, multi-circuit structure configurations to replace single-circuit lines. We have increased capacity by replacing existing conductors with high-temperature, low-sag conductors, including the newer composite core conductors now on the market, with minimal structure modifications. Our teams have modified existing lines for operation at higher voltages by replacing lattice tower arms with polymer, braced-post insulator assemblies. We have also worked with our clients to implement real-time conductor monitoring devices to assess if any variances from the assumed line rating parameters might allow for increased ampacity.
  • NERC Facility Rating Assessment and Remediation
    In 2010, NERC required that all transmission owners and generator owners of bulk electric system facilities review their facility ratings to determine if their methodology produces appropriate ratings when considering actual field conditions. Although the final deadline for reporting the results of this assessment to NERC was in 2013, remediation to mitigate deviations in ratings due to changes in field conditions is still underway. Sargent & Lundy has assisted numerous clients with line rating assessments and remediation programs. Using Lidar survey data, we have modeled existing transmission lines and identified clearance infractions. In collaboration with the transmission owners, we have developed plans to mitigate the issues and bring the facilities into compliance with the stated capacity ratings.
  • Storm Hardening
    Government officials, utility commissions, and customers look to transmission system facility owners to minimize outages under severe weather conditions. While many of these occurrences are above and beyond industry-accepted design parameters, utilities are seeking approaches to harden their facilities to improve the ability to withstand these natural disasters. Drawing upon our wide range of transmission grid project experience, Sargent & Lundy has supported clients to develop storm hardening solutions. We have performed storm hardening conceptual design studies to determine the viability, risks, and costs associated with various mitigation options. One study involved evaluating potential flood levels and water intrusion paths at several substations. Solutions considered included floodwalls and elevated approaches into substations, which were evaluated from an economic, operations, and reliability standpoint. Considerations included sheltered aisle switchgear design, outage plans, grounding, emergency power, emergency egress points, and risk mitigation.
  • Physical/Cyber Security
    Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) is a focus of the reliability standards issued by NERC over the past several years. In particular, Reliability Standard CIP-014-1 addresses threats and vulnerabilities to the physical security of critical facilities on the bulk power system. Sargent & Lundy is an industry leader in utility security systems. Terrorism, vandalism, and theft threats require even greater design sophistication. Nuclear plant clients across the country have relied on us to perform system studies, scoping, and design for security enhancements, blast analysis, cybersecurity, control of Safeguards Information, and Design Basis Threat. Systems and devices that our teams have applied to substation security enhancements have included: precast masonry and micro-mesh walls, fence proximity sensors, yard and control building PTZ and thermal cameras, SCADA system security connections, gate and door electronic card readers, data diode system data access, visual barriers, alarm redundancy, internal yard microwaves, fiber sensitive Ethernet security systems, and dual-topped fencing.
  • Renewable Energy Interconnections
    Throughout our 125-year history, Sargent & Lundy has designed substations and transmission lines to interconnect all types of generating stations to the grid. In recent years, wind and solar farms have comprised a significant portion of the new generation capacity. Our expertise has been applied to design substations, switchyards, transmission lines, and collector systems to connect these renewable energy facilities to the transmission network. We have performed services for these projects for both the developers and the utilities owning the interconnected transmission lines. This has included facility studies, transmission screening studies, system impact studies, market accessibility studies, evaluations for alternate interconnection points, conceptual designs, cost estimates, detailed engineering, quality assurance surveillance, and commissioning. We fully understand the nature of these projects, in that they may develop slowly as studies, land acquisition, and power purchase agreement (PPA) negotiations proceed and then shift to a fast-track schedule as in-service deadlines must be met for financial or PPA commitments.
  • FERC Order No. 1000 Project Strategies and Collaboration
  • Generation Plant Retirement Switchyard Modifications
  • Smart Grid and Grid Modernization

Substation Engineering Services for Grid Modernization

Grid Modernization Consulting Services

Webinars on Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS). Three informative discussions are available online.  View

Transmission Line and Substation Engineering Design Courses: Offered virtually during COVID-19 pandemic. See below for course dates, brochures, and registration programs.

Comprehensive Services:

  • Air- and Gas-Insulated Substation Design
  • Grid Modernization
  • Overhead, Underground, and Submarine Transmission Line Design
  • Electric Transportation Applications
  • Distribution Engineering and Design
  • Program/Construction Management and Commissioning
  • Procurement and Material Management
  • System Studies
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Owner’s Engineer
    As a leading engineering firm in the power industry, Sargent & Lundy has built a reputation for quality, client satisfaction, and the capability to tackle large, challenging projects. These attributes apply not only to in-house projects, but also when we serve as owner’s engineer to our clients. We have developed and implemented project management skills and tools to successful projects with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars involving multiple subcontractors, consultants, material suppliers, and contractors. Representing the project Owner, Sargent & Lundy provides the full range of services to coordinate, document, schedule and control, contract, and commission all types of transmission system projects. Our in-depth knowledge allows us to collaborate with the Owner to identify, quantify, assign responsibility, and manage risks that are inherent in every large project. Moving forward, this risk management plan is incorporated into the budget and schedule controls, as well as the overall project management program. Depending on the plan developed with the Owner, we perform or manage conceptual studies, permitting, and preliminary engineering. We then identify bidders, develop bid packages, conduct bidding, evaluate bids, and support contract execution. Contractor deliverables are reviewed, quality assurance surveillance is performed, construction is managed, and commissioning is planned and coordinated by the Sargent & Lundy team to meet the Owner’s requirements.
    Our reputation for project management, quality engineering, and construction management and commissioning expertise make Sargent & Lundy uniquely qualified to provide the full range of EPCM services or to serve as the partner-of-choice on EPC teams. We successfully team with industry-recognized construction firms to fully engineer, specify, and procure all material and equipment, construct, and commission transmission lines and substations in compliance with the owner’s specifications, budgets, and schedules. We consistently place a high priority on the constructability of our engineering deliverables. An integral part of a quality management system is the analysis and quantification of client and contractor comments and as-built revisions to our drawings and other deliverables. This information is monitored so that we continually improve the process to minimize field issues or construction delays. While this benefits all types of projects, it is particularly important when we are responsible for the full range of EPCM services or are partnered with a construction company in an EPC effort and our mutual success depends on close collaboration between design and installation.
  • Transmission Line and Substation Engineering Training Courses

Air- and Gas-Insulated Substation Design

Sargent & Lundy has designed hundreds of substations and switchyards for electric utilities, independent power producers, and industrial installations from 2.3 kV to 765 kV.  Our experience includes open-air and gas-insulated stations, both greenfield sites and upgrades, and expansions of existing substations. Sargent & Lundy’s comprehensive services range from conceptual designs, cost estimates, and siting studies to physical design, grading and drainage design, protection and control engineering, foundation design, and preparation of complete specifications for material, equipment, and construction.

This extensive experience is applied to develop creative solutions for challenging projects, including innovative physical arrangements to accommodate space constraints and irregular site boundaries, enclosed substation designs compatible with urban environments, grading and drainage designs to comply with stormwater runoff and retention regulations, and integrating new control and protection systems into existing substations.

Grid Modernization

Sargent & Lundy has a proven track record of completing projects across the United States and internationally that support smart grid implementation, including new substation designs, solar and wind energy designs, battery energy storage, grid interconnection, load flow studies, and cyber/physical security projects along with hundreds of NERC CIP compliance upgrades.

Learn more about our Grid Modernization services

Overhead, Underground, and Submarine Transmission Line Design

Developing cost-effective designs suited for the diverse conditions encountered along transmission line routes requires experienced project teams. Sargent & Lundy has designed thousands of miles of transmission lines in all voltage classes. We’ve analyzed and designed all types of structures for new and existing overhead lines and designed riser structures for transitions from underground to overhead lines. Our complete project services include line routing, conceptual designs and cost estimates, project life-cycle cost studies, cable selection, duct package design, structure and foundation design and analysis, optimized structure spotting, lightning performance analysis, induction studies, and preparation of material and construction specifications.

Sargent & Lundy has developed compact line designs to fit into narrow rights-of-way, foundation designs for extremely poor subsurface conditions, designs and construction procedures for installations done with helicopters, and underground cable installations under congested, urban roadways involving railroad and transit system track crossings.

Program/Construction Management and Commissioning

Sargent & Lundy deploys extensive experience and multidiscipline resources to provide clients with effective coordination and administration of each phase of complex projects. This includes: development and maintenance of integrated project schedules; preparation of budget estimates; tracking status of engineering, procurement, and construction activities; and management of multiple supply and construction contracts.

The appropriate combination of onsite staff and office support is applied to effectively manage large projects or multiple-sequenced programs of projects, from concept to commissioning. We work with project owners to develop comprehensive plans for each project. The sequence of tasks is evaluated, incorporating our knowledge of utility capital projects. Permitting requirements, public and property owner issues, engineering challenges, supply chain considerations, construction complexities, and outage constraints are incorporated in this process.

In conjunction with the development of specifications for transmission and substation material and equipment, we perform a complete range of procurement services. Procurement services range from soliciting and evaluating bids to supplier monitoring and expediting, including factory inspections, quality control reviews, and test witnessing.

Sargent & Lundy also provides complete construction management and commissioning services for power transmission projects. Our experienced staff is available for onsite management and quality control surveillance of all construction activities. We can provide a complete construction services team for a project or individual personnel for staff augmentation. Our experience ranges from monitoring construction of hundreds of miles of transmission line to erection of multistory buildings for enclosed urban substations.

We provide testing services for the analysis and commissioning of substation equipment and complete substation installations. Our approach includes close collaboration with the owner to develop testing criteria and procedures that comply with necessary requirements and documentation that is accurate.

Transmission Line and Substation Engineering Design Courses

Sargent & Lundy offers training in substation, overhead transmission line, and underground transmission line design to our clients in the utility industry. Training is offered annually at our Chicago office in the spring and fall. We also offer onsite classes to our clients upon request. Courses last two to four days, and upon completion participants may earn 16 to 32 professional development hours (PDHs).

2024 Courses

Substation Engineering Design Course 
June 10-13, 2024
September 16-19, 2024

Overhead Transmission Line Engineering Design Course
June 24-27, 2024
September 23-26, 2024

See registration forms for details.

Questions about the courses or registration?
Contact Mary Jo McNamara +1-312-269-2117