FirstEnergy Corp. has completed $6 million in new transmission projects and is evaluating additional system upgrades across its Ohio Edison service area to meet rising electric demand growth driven by the shale gas industry.
New facilities, including a high-voltage substation and transmission lines, were completed to accommodate new natural gas processing facilities and other energy-intensive operations in Ohio's Utica Shale region. The new customer facilities are projected to ultimately generate about 125 megawatts (MW) of electric load growth, the equivalent of adding more than 60,000 new homes to Ohio Edison's system.
"The shale gas industry is creating new jobs and helping restore economic prosperity to portions of our service territory," said Randall A. Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison. "Part of the gas industry's success relies on its ability to access safe, affordable and reliable electric power, and we are committed to meeting the demanding requirements of this fast-growing segment."
Recently completed projects include a new $3 million substation upgrade in southern Columbiana County to serve Utica East Ohio's Kensington processing facility. The new substation includes specialized equipment that will help reduce the number and duration of power outages in the area. The substation will also provide greater operational flexibility to manage the local electric system in light of the significant power needs of the Utica East Ohio facility.
FirstEnergy also recently announced the completion of a 3.5-mile, 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to serve a Pennant Midstream natural gas processing facility in Springfield Township in Mahoning County. The nearly $3 million transmission project connects with an existing 138-kV transmission line in Mahoning County and allows for future expansion at the Pennant facility, which separates natural gas into dry and liquid components and uses large amounts of electricity. The project included the installation of 81 new wooden poles and one steel pole in approximately 3.5 miles of new right-of-way to a substation located at the Pennant Midstream facility.
FirstEnergy is currently evaluating additional transmission upgrades as new service requests from shale gas developers continue throughout the Ohio Edison territory.
The projects are part of $250 million in regulated transmission investments identified through 2015 across FirstEnergy to account for 1,100 MW of proposed electric load growth in 2015 through 2019. New transmission infrastructure benefits all customers in the Utica shale region by boosting electric service reliability across the system.