AEP: Construction to begin soon on 345-kV line in Oklahoma

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) subsidiary AEP Oklahoma Transmission said March 1 that construction work will begin soon on the Western Oklahoma Transmission Reinforcement Project, with construction of a new substation near Elk City, Okla., expected to start this spring.

Later this summer, construction of the new 345-kV line will begin, with completion of the 60-mile project planned for the summer of 2018, AEP Oklahoma Transmission said in a statement.

AEP Oklahoma Transmission is a transmission-only affiliate of AEP utility Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) that develops, owns and operates transmission assets in the PSO territory.

Most of the right of way (ROW) for the project has been acquired, though some ROW agents continue to meet with landowners to discuss the project, construction activities and site restoration efforts, a PSO spokesperson told TransmissionHub March 11.

“They are near the end of that process,” she said.

Pre-construction activities, such as staking the ROW and clearing vegetation and any obstacles for construction, are expected to begin this month, AEP Oklahoma Transmission said.

The Western Oklahoma Transmission Reinforcement Project, which the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said is needed to address regional reliability issues, is expected to cost about $120m, AEP Oklahoma Transmission said. The project will provide transmission capacity to meet the growing need for electricity in the region and address overloads identified by SPP, the company said.

The line will cover parts of Beckham and Washita counties, and PSO has noted that the route selected for the project came after a comprehensive study that included an open house to receive stakeholder input and investigation of environmental and land use issues. Transmission projects in the state do not require approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, though PSO works with state, local and federal agencies to obtain any required permits, the PSO spokesperson said.

The project involves the new Chisholm substation, to be added about 15 miles west of Elk City, Okla., with the line extending east before turning southeast and crossing Interstate 40 near Sayre, then turning east and connecting with a portion of the line being built by Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E), northwest of Mountain View, Okla., AEP Oklahoma Transmission said. The line will connect with a 345-kV line coming out of OG&E’s Gracemont substation near Mountain View, according to the description on the project’s website.

Construction on the Chisholm substation is planned for early spring, with work on the transmission line to begin around August, AEP Oklahoma Transmission said.

The project will use single-pole steel structures in a 150-foot-wide ROW, AEP Oklahoma Transmission said.