FirstEnergy, an Ohio-based energy company, is upgrading high-voltage transmission lines in Ohio and Pennsylvania to improve the reliability, resiliency, efficiency, and operational flexibility of the transmission system in the areas.
These upgrades are part of its multi-year initiative, Energizing the Future, designed to reinforce the power grid and reduce the frequency and duration of customer outages.
In Ohio, American Transmission Systems (ATSI), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, is using helicopter crews to upgrade a 138-kV transmission line in Ottawa County. The transmission line spans nearly eight miles southwest from the Lakeview Substation in Port Clinton to the Ottawa Substation in Salem Township and serves Ottawa, Erie and Lorain counties.
FirstEnergy opted to use helicopter crews for this project making the work faster and more efficient than deploying ground crews, which would require the creation of access roads for large trucks and equipment. Construction along the line commenced in February and work is expected to be completed in May.
The $20 million project involves replacing six existing transmission structures with new steel monopoles and making modifications to another 42 transmission structures, installing new components and insulators to support the new, larger wires that can handle additional demand if other lines in the area are out of service.
“As the highway of the country’s electrical infrastructure, a modern, robust and flexible high-voltage transmission system plays a crucial role in delivering electricity to residents and businesses,” said Carl Bridenbaugh, FirstEnergy’s Vice President of Transmission.
In Pennsylvania, West Penn Power, another subsidiary of FirstEnergy, has completed the upgrade of a 138-kV transmission line in Westmoreland County that runs nearly eight miles northeast across Rostraver Township and South Huntingdon Township.
The project involved installing new transmission structures and associated upgrades at the Yukon Substation, which is fed by the line. The $13.7 million project reduces the risk of overloads on the line and allows it to carry increased power flow in the event of unplanned service interruptions on other lines in the area.
Both projects were identified in conjunction with PJM, the electric grid operator for the respective service areas, as part of its reliability planning analysis.
Through 2022, FirstEnergy has invested more than $10 billion in its Energizing the Future initiative, which includes upgrading or replacing existing power lines, incorporating smart technology into the grid, and upgrading dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features.