AEP West Virginia Transmission, an affiliate of Appalachian Power, has received approval to upgrade transmission facilities in the Kanawha Valley, the US.
Approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, the upgraded facilities will enhance the reliability of the electric transmission grid and prevent thermal overloads with minimal impact on the public or the existing view shed.
Known as the 'Kanawha Valley Area transmission reinforcement project', the project will include rebuilding around 52 miles of existing transmission lines and making upgrades to substations..
The company will carry out most of the Kanawha Valley work between its John Amos Plant and its Turner and Cabin Creek substations, while additional work will be carried out to facilities that feed off the backbone of the Poca-Cabin Creek transmission line.
As part of the upgrade works, the company will replace the existing 138kV facilities built in the 1920s-1940s with larger 138kV lines with construction set to complete in 2017.
The upgrade works, which is estimated to cost around $173m, will strengthen the grid and position the region for future growth.
AEP said that the retirement of power plants including the 400MW Kanawha River coal plant and the remaining units at the 580MW Sporn plant in 2015, combined with other plant closures in the region, will change the way power flows on the transmission grid.
The company recognised the need to accommodate those changes and address additional issues, and as a result sought approval for the plan in 2013.