Ameren Missouri removing decades-old substation

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - If you think you've got a lot of junk at home that could be recycled, imagine how much Ameren Missouri has to deal with now that it's modernizing downtown's electrical system? Getting rid of an old power station takes some pretty powerful equipment.

You can almost tell just by looking at it that Ameren's Cole Street Substation is one of the oldest in Missouri.

How old is it?

So old that Reddy Kilowatt was still current, so to speak; the labels on the transformers are dated 1949. And some of the underground lines they fed go back to the 1904 World’s Fair.

Ameren Missouri is working on a $42 million revitalization of its downtown system, meaning old coggers like this substation are being taken apart for scrap. All of those components will be recycled. And there are a lot of them. The power company’s downtown revitalization project includes replacing 22 miles of cable and 64 miles of conduit.

The facility that replaced the Cole Street Substation is only a few blocks away, but it is miles apart in terms of capability. Not only is it more than five times larger than Cole, it is also a lot smarter, with features like self-diagnosis and self-monitoring. It will be capable of sensing outages on the grid and diverting power from a different source, meaning outages that used to take hours to fix can be addressed in a matter of seconds.