American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) on April 3 said that following a comprehensive routing study, a public open house in January, and an analysis of public comments, it has determined that the best solution for its Auburn-Butler Transmission Line Rebuild project in DeKalb County is to rebuild a portion of the existing line, while using a new route along county roads for the remainder.
Specifically, the company said that it would:
- Rebuild the transmission line at its current location from the Auburn substation northeast to County Road 38
- Build a new line along County Road 38 and travel south on County Road 47 to County Road 40; the new line will then continue east on County Road 40 and stop slightly west of County Road 61
The company said that construction of the new line beginning along County Road 38 was chosen to enhance the configuration of the electric transmission grid to incorporate existing infrastructure, while positioning the system for future additions needed to provide reliable service in an area where industrial load growth is promoted and anticipated. The company also said that the portion of the existing line in that area not being rebuilt will have the transmission lines removed.
I&M said that crews and contractors will conduct survey work along the final line route periodically through spring. Pre-construction activities are anticipated to begin in early 2018, followed by transmission line construction, which should be complete towards the end of 2018, I&M said.
According to a project fact sheet, the approximately $17m project involves rebuilding about five miles of 69-kV transmission line to 138-kV; building about four miles of new 138-kV transmission line; enhancements to support industrial customers; and replacing wood poles with steel monopoles.
The line connects the Auburn and Butler substations in DeKalb County. The fact sheet also noted that the infrastructure in the area has reached an age where it needs to be replaced to better serve area customers. Improvements also reduce power outages and speed recovery of service when outages do occur, according to the fact sheet.
Gravel Pit project
I&M on March 31 announced the final line route for the Gravel Pit Substation and Transmission Line Upgrades project. The line routes, which travel north and northeast out of the Gravel Pit substation, located southwest of South Bend on Indiana 23 near Orange Road, connect to the existing Jackson Road-New Carlisle transmission line.
I&M said that crews and contractors will conduct survey work along the final line route periodically through spring. Conversations with landowners along the route and right of way agents are expected to begin this spring and will continue until the fall, the company said.
Pre-construction activities are anticipated to begin in the fall, followed by line construction, I&M said, adding that the project is expected to be complete in late 2018.
According to a fact sheet about the approximately $20m project, the expansion of the Gravel Pit substation – which is located southwest of the city on State Route 23 near Orange Road in South Bend, Ind. – increases the voltage from 34.5 kV to 138 kV to provide additional electric capacity. Two new 138-kV transmission lines, totaling about six miles, will connect the expanded substation to the power grid, and the existing line connecting the substation to the grid will be removed, according to the fact sheet.
Modernizing and upgrading the 1950s substation is essential to reduce power outages in the region and add additional capacity and a redundant connection, the fact sheet stated. Building two connections to the substation creates a looped service to ensure a reliable flow of electricity to customers, the fact sheet added.