American Electric Power’s (AEP) 765-kilovolt (kV) joint transmission line proposal with Allegheny Energy Inc was approved by PJM Interconnection (PJM) of Norristown, Pa.

The PJM board included the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) project in their five-year PJM Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) designed to maintain the reliability of the transmission grid. The PJM plan approves the building of 250 miles of 765-kV extra-high voltage transmission from AEP’s Amos substation near St. Albans, W.Va., to Bedington substation, northeast of Martinsburg, W.Va. Another 40 miles of transmission, consisting of twin-circuit 500-kV transmission, will be constructed from Bedington to a new substation to be built at Kemptown, Md.

AEP and Allegheny announced plans in April 2007 to form a joint venture to build PATH. The total project is estimated to cost approximately $1.8 billion, and The PJM RTEP calls for the PATH line to be put in service by June 2012 to meet the reliability needs of the region.

“PJM approval allows us to move forward with construction of a significant portion of the I-765 transmission superhighway that is urgently needed to help relieve transmission congestion and enhance reliability in PJM,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The PATH project encompasses the first half of the AEP I-765 Interstate Project, a 550-mile, $3 billion 765-kV transmission line proposed by AEP in January 2006. The remaining portion of AEP’s proposed I-765 Interstate Project from Kemptown Station into New Jersey remains under study by PJM and is not part of the joint venture.    EC