AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER (AEP) IS ADDRESSING INADEQUACIES IN THE U.S. TRANSMISSION INFRASTRUCTURE. AEP (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.) has filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the PJM Interconnection to build a 765-kV transmission line stretching from West Virginia to New Jersey.

The proposed line, coined the AEP Interstate Project, would span approximately 550 miles (885 km) and would reduce PJM congestion costs by improving west-east transfer capability by approximately 5000 MW and reducing transmission line losses by approximately 280 MW. It also would enhance reliability in the eastern transmission grid.

“Additional high-voltage transmission highways are absolutely necessary to relieve congestion within the eastern grid,” says Michael G. Morris, AEP's chairman, president and CEO. “In 2004, PJM transmission congestion costs totaled approximately US$800 million, and [for] 2005, congestion costs are expected to exceed $1 billion.”

The proposed route of the AEP Interstate Project would originate at AEP's Amos transmission station in Putnam County, West Virginia, connect through Allegheny Power's Doubs Station in Frederick County, Maryland, and terminate at Public Service Electric and Gas's Deans Station in Middlesex County, New Jersey. This route follows a corridor conceptually identified by PJM as Project Mountaineer, a transmission route needed to address critical transmission congestion within the PJM footprint. AEP has filed with the Department of Energy to have the proposed route designated as a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor.

A new AEP subsidiary, AEP Transmission Co. LLC, would own the line and undertake construction of the project, which is expected to cost nearly $3 billion. AEP anticipates an in-service date of 2014, assuming three years to site and acquire rights of way and five years to actually build the line.