AEP Transmission joint venture begins construction on Kansas Transmission Project

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Prairie Wind Transmission, a transmission joint venture that includes American Electric Power, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (through the companies’ Electric Transmission America joint venture) and Westar Energy Inc., today began construction of 108 miles of new double-circuit, 345-kilovolt transmission lines in south-central Kansas.

The $180 million Prairie Wind Transmission project will stretch from Colwich, Kan., southwest to a new substation at Medicine Lodge, Kan., and then south to Hardtner, Kan., at the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Completion is expected in late 2014.

When complete, the project will be the first high-voltage transmission line linking east and west Kansas and will significantly reduce transmission congestion, improve reliability and support the growth of wind energy in the state and region.

“We’re thrilled to begin moving dirt on a high-voltage transmission project that will provide significant benefits for the transmission system not only in Kansas, but also provide regional benefits for the Southwest Power Pool. Our nation needs new transmission infrastructure investment to ensure that we continue to have a reliable grid to support both changes in how we generate electricity and future economic growth. Transmission investment also can support job growth throughout our economy,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and chief executive officer.

“AEP’s refocused transmission strategy, which includes both near-term transmission projects to enhance and improve local reliability within our traditional service area and longer-term joint venture projects in other regions, is yielding results. We have transmission companies approved in Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia and are working through pending approvals in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia. Our Electric Transmission Texas joint venture with MidAmerican has 55 projects under construction in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, with a pipeline of projects totaling more than $2 billion by 2014,” Akins said.

AEP has projected $466 million in transmission capital investment in 2012 through its transmission companies and joint ventures and an $0.08 per share contribution to 2012 earnings from its transmission operations.

The Kansas Corporation Commission approved the transmission route for the Prairie Wind Transmission project in June 2011. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously approved Prairie Wind Transmission’s request for key rate components for the project in December 2008 including a 12.8 percent return on equity.