West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has completed the upgrade of a high-voltage transmission line in Westmoreland County, stringing new, larger wires that can handle additional demand if other lines in the area are out of service.
The 138-kilovolt transmission line runs nearly eight miles northeast across Rostraver Township and South Huntingdon Township. In addition to stringing the new wires, West Penn Power installed several new transmission structures along the route and made 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, which could impact the reliability of the electric grid. With the new wires, the line is now able to carry increased power flow in the event of unplanned service interruptions on other lines in the area. The project was completed in December and was identified in conjunction with PJM, the electric grid operator for West Penn Power's service area, as part of its reliability planning analysis.
"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. "Working closely with PJM to identify and construct projects such as this will help enhance grid reliability for countless customers throughout the multi-state PJM region."
The project is also part of Energizing the Future, a multi-year initiative designed to upgrade FirstEnergy's transmission system with advanced equipment and technologies that will reinforce the power grid and help reduce the frequency and duration of customer outages. Since 2014, FirstEnergy has upgraded or replaced existing power lines, incorporated smart technology into the grid and upgraded dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features. Through 2022, FirstEnergy has invested more than $10 billion in the Energizing the Future initiative.