What We Do
With a focus on safety and reliability, AEP Transmission builds and operates the infrastructure that moves high voltage electricity from gas, solar, coal, nuclear, wind and hydro sources, and delivers it to large industrial customers and to AEP Operating Companies and other power companies that distribute it to businesses and homes like yours.
New Investment in Transmission:
Replaces aging infrastructure – Much of the U.S. power grid has been in service for 40 or more years. This aging infrastructure is more prone to failure and lacks many of the technologies that make modern transmission lines more dependable.
Improves reliability – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, power outages and brownouts disrupt lives and cost the economy an average of $18 to $33 billion each year (and far more during years with major storms like 2012's Superstorm Sandy). By strengthening and adding resiliency to our power transmission grid, we help our customers weather the storm and recover more quickly.
Relieves congestion – Just as our highways become overcrowded, so do the country's transmission corridors. Lines and equipment can only safely carry so much electricity. When load exceeds capability, breakers open to protect the equipment, and outages or brownouts occur. An overstressed system is at risk of a cascading failure such as the one that caused the great Northeast Blackout of 2003.
Accommodates generation retirements – A number of coal plants have been recently retired and more may follow in the next few years. Several of these plants have provided the grid with key recovery capabilities in the event of a major outage. New transmission projects will be needed to ease the impact of these retirements and to connect with new generation sources. In some cases, these lines will connect with new natural gas plants fed by the growing shale gas industry.
Facilitates use of renewable sources – Wind and solar power have a great upside as renewable, non-polluting energy sources, but they have two big issues that have to be addressed. First, they are intermittent: the wind can blow hard or stop and clouds and nightfall affect solar production. The grid requires a constant flow. So new equipment and technology will be necessary to store excess power during peak production and return it when the wind drops or the sun goes down. Second, these renewable sources are often built in remote locations, so new transmission lines are needed to deliver this power to customers.
AEP owns, operates and is actively constructing transmission assets in 13 states, under four Regional Transmission Operators (RTOs): ERCOT, MISO, PJM and SPP. We develop these projects through Transource Energy (our competitive transmission affiliate), our wholly owned transmission operating companies (Transcos) and numerous joint ventures. AEP Transmission operates the largest transmission system in the United States with more than 40,000 miles of lines, including more 765-kV capacity than all other U.S. utilities combined.
Teamwork ensures downtown Charleston stays open
Combined AEP Transmission and Distribution crews needed just eight weeks—from conception to completion—to build an overhead transmission line above city streets in downtown Charleston to keep businesses open and warm this winter as crews repair the city's vital and aging underground transmission system. Read more.
Did you know?
AEP was the first company to use helicopters extensively in transmission line construction.