Construction is underway on a new FirstEnergy Corp. transmission substation in Doddridge County, West Virginia, to support the electric demands of the area's rapidly expanding Marcellus Shale gas industry and help enhance service reliability for Mon Power's customers in Doddridge and neighboring counties.

As part of the construction process, crews recently completed the foundation work and erected steel structures at the new 11 acre substation site near Sherwood, W. Va.  The $36 million project also includes a short transmission line to connect the new substation with an existing 138-kV line located nearby.

In addition to supporting the MarkWest Sherwood natural gas processing facility, the new substation and line will reinforce the regional transmission system and is also expected to benefit more than 6,000 Mon Power customers along the U.S. Route 50 corridor in Doddridge, Harrison and Ritchie counties.

"FirstEnergy's infrastructure enhancements help support the increased Marcellus gas activity in West Virginia," said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy's president of West Virginia Operations.  "With the natural gas industry bringing new employment and business development opportunities to the state, FirstEnergy and Mon Power will keep pace by continuing to upgrade our system to meet this growing demand for safe and reliable electric service."

The new substation will be connected to MarkWest's Sherwood processing facility via two, four-mile transmission lines.  The plant is a midstream processing facility that separates natural gas into dry and liquid components.  The refinement and separation processes typically use large amounts of electricity.  The new substation has been designed so that it can be expanded in the future to accommodate additional load growth at the MarkWest facility.

The new substation is expected to be completed and operational in December 2014.  Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company, a FirstEnergy transmission affiliate, will build and own the substation.  Mon Power will own the short transmission line connecting to the existing 138-kV line, as well as some metering equipment inside the substation.