FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) on Jan. 16 said that a $30m transmission project has been energized in Elyria, Ohio, to meet rising electricity demand driven by commercial and industrial load growth in the area.
The centerpiece of the project is the new 345/138-kV Lake Avenue substation that will increase the electric capacity available to serve Ohio Edison customers in Elyria, Lorain, Sheffield Lake and Vermilion, as well as provide the company with greater flexibility to operate the local transmission network, FirstEnergy said.
The project also required the construction of eight transmission lines supported by 36 new tower structures, which were needed to connect existing power lines in the area to the new substation, the company said.
Construction began in late 2015, after the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved the substation, and the new facilities were energized ahead of a December 2016 in-service deadline, FirstEnergy said.
According to the company’s application filed with the OPSB, the project is supported by extending two loops from the existing Avon-Beaver No. 1 and No. 2 345-kV transmission lines about 0.05 mile to the new Lake Avenue substation, creating Avon-Lake Avenue No. 1 and No. 2 345-kV circuits and Beaver-Lake Avenue No. 1 and No. 2 345-kV circuits. The substation also connects to two loops from the existing Black River-Johnson No. 1 and No. 2 138-kV transmission lines extending about 0.3 mile to the new Lake Avenue substation, creating Black River-Lake Avenue No. 1 and No. 2 138-kV circuits and Johnson-Lake Avenue No. 1 and No. 2 138-kV circuits.
The company noted in its Jan. 16 statement that the project is part of its “Energizing the Future” initiative, which is a $4.2bn to $5.8bn investment program in electric transmission infrastructure between 2017 and 2021, that involves upgrading and strengthening the grid to meet the future demands of customers and communities. Key factors driving that investment include replacing existing equipment with advanced technologies designed to enhance system reliability; meeting projected load growth driven by shale gas-related activity and other development in the region; as well as reinforcing the system in light of power plant deactivations, the company said.
A FirstEnergy spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Jan. 16 that “Energizing the Future” projects include new/expanded substations, new transmission lines and line rebuild projects over time across the company’s service area.
Initial construction projects were focused on upgrading 69-kV transmission power lines and substations in the Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison and Penn Power areas, the spokesperson said, adding: “Our 69-kV system links high voltage transmission lines to our distribution network, and much of this work was done along existing utility [ROWs], with minimal impact on the environment and the surrounding communities. With the approval of our new subsidiary, Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission LLC, we intend to expand our efforts this year into our Penelec and Met-Ed utility service areas.”