Appalachian Power Co. continues work on two rebuild projects

Appalachian Power elp

American Electric Power’s Appalachian Power Co. said earlier this month that it has started construction on the $110 million Charleston Area Improvements Project, which includes rebuilding about five miles of transmission line and building a new segment of transmission line, along with expanding three substations and building a new substation in the downtown Charleston, W.Va., area.

A company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Sept. 27 that four miles of line will be double circuit 138/69 kV, while one mile will be double circuit 138 kV. The voltage of the new substation that is part of that project is 138/46 kV, the spokesperson said.

The company said in its Sept. 7 statement that since it is working on the final line route for the transmission rebuild, the current work will be limited to building the new substation as well as upgrading and expanding the existing substations.

The company also said that it expects to have a final line route sometime this fall, and that the project should be completed by summer 2019.

Frank Jenkins, project manager, said in the statement, “We are still working to determine the line route that best minimizes impacts to residents and business owners.”

According to a fact sheet on the project, the economic development in Charleston has increased the need for a modern transmission system, and the proposed upgrades will ensure continued reliable service to the residential, commercial and industrial customers in the area, while building an electric system capable of handling the growing power demand.

The proposed line to be upgraded runs east along Chesterfield Avenue before heading north up 36th Street. After spanning the Kanawha River, the line runs northwest towards the Elk River before connecting with a newly built substation to be located in downtown Charleston, the fact sheet added.

Additional transmission line work will be done to connect the new substation to the newly expanded Washington Street substation, according to the fact sheet.

Appalachian Power said that its affiliate, AEP West Virginia Transmission Co., filed an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia last November, and received approval from the PSC in June.

In a separate Sept. 7 statement, Appalachian Power said that it and AEP West Virginia Transmission are proposing the $62 million Boone County Area Improvement Project, which includes rebuilding about 16 miles of transmission line (double circuit 138/46 kV), building a new 138-kV substation, and expanding an existing 138-kV substation along the project route.

About 10 miles of the work would take place in Boone County, while the remaining six miles of the rebuild and the new substation would be in Kanawha County, the company said.

The spokesperson confirmed that an open house was held on Sept. 22 in Racine.

The company said in its statement that following that open house, it will determine a route that minimizes impact to the environment and community. Construction is expected to begin in late 2017, and be completed by the end of 2019, the company said.

According to a fact sheet on the project, continued growth has pushed the region’s transmission grid to capacity. The existing Boone–Cabin Creek 46-kV transmission line was built 90 years ago and can no longer handle the current power demand, the fact sheet said, adding that upgrading that line to 138 kV would provide the area with a more reliable energy source capable of handling the increase in power.

The proposed line to be rebuilt begins at the Boone substation south of the community of Ashford, and runs southeast through Boone County, passing through the communities of Costa and Racine for about 10 miles, before crossing into Kanawha County. The fact sheet also noted that the new substation would be located in the Cabin Creek area south of Interstate 64.

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