What is transmission siting and why is it important?
Unlike any other product, electricity must be delivered the instant it is being used. The electricity that lights a light bulb is instantly being generated at a power plant, or a wind or solar farm many miles away.
To maintain reliable electrical service, all components of AEP’s system — generation, transmission and distribution—must be in balance and working together. The failure of one element, without adequate backup, can affect the entire system.
The first step to achieving maximum reliability is through effective transmission siting, routing and the strategic placement of high-voltage transmission lines and substations. Having sufficient transmission capabilities is of utmost importance, as undersized or overloaded components between the power plant and the distribution system can pose a threat to reliable service across a wide area or an entire community.
Identifying Environmental and Social Factors
Siting transmission facilities is a complex, technical process that involves balancing disturbance to human, cultural and natural resources with a community’s need for reliable electricity.
To start the siting process, AEP Transmission siting specialists define a study area and conduct a due diligence review to determine constraints. Preliminary study segments are developed based on all publicly available data, seeking to limit impacts by identifying the most direct path that attempts to avoid known constraints with special emphasis on avoiding homes.
Each project goes through a feasibility test. In addition to considering environmental disturbance and impacts on people, including landowner requests, the cost-effectiveness, practicality and efficiency of the project are also inputs into the review.
Throughout the process, attempts are made to limit the overall impact of the line on its surroundings while maintaining a technically buildable design.
AEP’s guiding principle in siting transmission facilities is to avoid or minimize impacts to people and the environment to the greatest extent possible.
Common Permitting and Survey Requirements
AEP Transmission works with regulatory agencies to obtain all the required federal, state and local environmental permits and approvals. Requirements can vary based on geographic location, environmental or cultural resources, and construction.