Transource® and its American Electric Power affiliate Appalachian Power, plan to increase local and regional reliability by investing $75 million in West Virginia’s transmission grid.
The Clendenin – Walton Area Improvements Project consists of building about 25 miles of 138-kilovolt transmission line, three substations and making upgrades to other transmission facilities in Roane and Kanawha counties.
The Independence Energy Connection project is designed to reduce congestion on the regional transmission grid and create access to low-cost electricity for customers in power zones across the mid-Atlantic region.
The project need was identified by the regional transmission organization, PJM Interconnection. According to PJM, the solution Transource® proposed will provide approximately $800 million in congestion savings in the first 15 years in-service. The project also solves growing reliability violations in Pennsylvania and Maryland that, if the IEC project is not built, would require a new solution before 2023.
Transource filed the original applications to build the IEC project with the Maryland Public Service Commission and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in December 2017. That application included plans to build the project in two segments, East and West, totaling approximately 45 miles of transmission line in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
During the course of the regulatory proceedings, various parties, including the Power Plant Research Program in Maryland, introduced several alternatives. Transource and PJM analyzed these alternative routes to ensure the project continued to meet the grid reliability and market efficiency requirements.
The alternative route, known as Alternative IEC East, maximizes the use of existing rights-of-way and is supported by multiple project stakeholders, including state agencies and local landowners. The alternative route was approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission on June 30, 2020, and is currently being considered by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission along with the originally filed configuration for the east segment.
Project construction is expected to begin in 2020, create 130 full-time jobs and support $40 million in local economic activity.