For more than nine years, Harris has provided program, project, and construction management services to Silicon Valley Power—the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility company.
Across numerous substation and transmission projects, Harris delivers third-party construction oversight, SWPPP development, and various civil design and engineering services. The Harris team has become the on-site representative for many new and upgrade projects, increasing capacity and safeguarding the City’s interests.
Just a few of the Silicon Valley Power projects include:
- Palm Substation and 60kV extension
- GIS services for electrical and building inspection departments
- Jenny Strand photovoltaic park
- Serra-Brokaw 60kV reconductoring
- Raymond storage project
- Uranium Substation
- Mission Substation and 60kV underground extension
- Walsh Substation
- Kenneth Substation
- Fairview Substation
The Mission Substation and 60kV underground extension was the largest substation undertaken by Silicon Valley Power, with three transformers and 150-foot long switchgear. The 60kV underground extension was installed along the maintenance road of California’s Great America Park, which had to remain open during construction. Extensive coordination and diligent communication helped avoid conflicts.
Adding to the pressure, the City Council imposed a strict deadline on the project to coordinate with the completion of Levi’s Stadium, home to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Harris worked with the City to preorder long lead-time material like switchgear and transformers in advance of the contractor. The Harris project lead coordinated with property owners, the project team, and the contractors for both the substation and the extension to ensure work stayed on track.
When the contractor reported that material for the translucent wall was unavailable, Harris quickly found an alternative and coordinated with the vendor to obtain the material on time. Ultimately, Harris guided the project to completion one week ahead of schedule. It received the South Bay APWA Project of the Year for utility projects over $5 million.
Meanwhile, the Uranium Substation project came with its own challenges—and dangers. All work was performed in an active substation. The Harris team emphasized safety at every turn, reminding the contractor about stringent requirements, blocking off restricted areas, and requiring all personnel to wear flame-resistant clothing.
Beyond the Blueprints
Although Silicon Valley Power is a City department, it is subject to the same regulations as any other developer. Harris communicates regularly with traffic, police, and public works departments to determine traffic plans that satisfy all stakeholders, mitigate disputes, and keep work on schedule. The Harris project manager has appeared at City Hall on a daily basis and leveraged all forms of communication—from formal meetings to daily internet chat messaging.
Harris also brings a deep understanding of the electric utilities’ procedures to avoid delays. For example, on the Uranium project, when work was done adjacent to an energized circuit, the project manager knew they had to give 72 hours’ notice ahead of construction. He worked with the City electric crews to de-energize the affected facilities.