The centerpiece of the project is a new 345/138-kV substation that will increase the electric capacity available to serve Ohio Edison customers in Elyria, Lorain, Sheffield Lake and Vermilion, as well as provide FirstEnergy with greater flexibility to operate the local transmission network.
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. FirstEnergy and its affiliates worked closely with property owners to acquire the necessary easements and to build the new transmission lines with as little disruption as possible.
Construction began in late 2015 after the substation was approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board, and the new facilities were energized ahead of a December 2016 in-service deadline.
"The new substation will provide a significant reinforcement to the electric system across our region and ensure that the grid can support commercial and industrial activity in Lorain County," said Randy Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison. "The construction work was completed safely, on time, and within budget, with minimal impact on local communities and property owners."
The project is part of FirstEnergy's Energizing the Future initiative, a $4.2 to $5.8 billion investment program in electric transmission infrastructure between 2017-2021 that involves upgrading and strengthening the grid to meet the future demands of customers and communities. Key factors driving this major investment in FirstEnergy's transmission system 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.