Final design and preliminary site work is underway for a new FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) substation near Smithfield, W.Va., to help meet increased electrical usage in the area’s rapidly expanding Marcellus Shale gas industry. The project also is expected to enhance service reliability for more than 6,000 Mon Power customers in Wetzel, Marion and Tyler counties.
The project is budgeted at approximately $63 million. The work includes building a new, two-mile transmission line to connect the new substation with a midstream natural gas processing facility expanding its operations and using more electricity. The new line will parallel an existing transmission line.
“FirstEnergy’s infrastructure enhancements continue to help support the increased Marcellus gas activity in West Virginia,” said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy’s president of West Virginia Operations. “The energy-intensive natural gas industry continues to be a positive driver of the state’s economy, and FirstEnergy and Mon Power are committed to upgrading our transmission system to meet the sector’s growing demand for safe and reliable electric service.”
Construction of the new substation and line is expected to begin in early 2016, with the project scheduled to be energized in late 2016.
In the interim, FirstEnergy has installed mobile equipment adjacent to the gas processing facility to accommodate the plant’s increased electrical load and help support voltage levels until the new substation is operational.
Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company, a FirstEnergy transmission affiliate, will build and own the substation. Mon Power will own the short transmission line connecting the new substation to the gas processing facility.
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Follow Mon Power on Twitter @MonPowerWV.