“Advanced technology will be critical as the grid is required to handle more distributed generation and smarter appliances, as well as customers who demand greater flexibility and more information. To protect our economic and national security, the grid must become more reliable and resilient. We will continue to advocate for policies that allow technologies to mature while ensuring those who use the grid pay their share of the costs to maintain the grid.”
— Nick Akins, chairman, president and chief executive officer, AEP
AEP launched mobile customer outage alerts in 2015 to more than 5 million customers. This allows us to provide customers with more timely information about when their power will be restored.
A robust grid is a critical enabler of generation resource diversity, new storage and demand side technologies. Our investments in the grid will enhance and improve reliability and connectivity while enabling the integration of new technologies. In the future, the grid will likely resemble a technology integration network, with two-way flows of power and information to meet customers’ needs.
Our employees are putting their technical expertise and innovative thinking to work for customers and investors.
New, advanced grid technologies are being integrated into the existing network to improve service quality and reliability.
We are learning about and investing in the development of new and emerging technologies.
The first installation of the AEP Transmission’s new BOLD™ line design is under way in Indiana. The new high capacity 345-kV tower offers many benefits, including the ability to increase capacity when rebuilding existing lines (potentially deferring the need for additional lines or rights of way) and it can be configured for either double-circuit or single-circuit (strung on only one side).
AEP believes that high-voltage, high-efficiency transmission facilities will maximize system performance while minimizing environmental impacts and system cost. AEP’s new BOLD™ line is designed to be a high-efficiency solution that reduces visual impacts to the public. BOLD towers are two-thirds the height of conventional 345 kV double circuit transmission structures. The first BOLD line is under construction in Indiana.
BOLD™, AEP Transmission’s Breakthrough Overhead Line Design, features towers with a lower overall height compared to a traditional extra-high voltage line, helping it fit more aesthetically into the environment. The first BOLD line is being built in Indiana. AEP received seven patents to date in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Our work on the Texas Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) gave us valuable experience integrating new technologies with the grid including sophisticated and advanced monitoring of the volatile voltage levels produced by wind turbines, enabling grid operators to manage the grid in real time, which is necessary for grid stability and reliability.
AEP Transmission engineers developed a new and compact extra-high voltage 345-kV line, called BOLD™ (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design). In addition to providing more capacity, the design improves the use of right of way land and is more streamlined in appearance. The new line is being built for the first time in the rebuilding and expansion of an existing 138-kV line in Indiana.
The first BOLD™ line is prepared for delivery to be assembled in Indiana. BOLD is AEP Transmission’s new line design to move power over long distances more efficiently and with fewer visual and physical impacts. The streamlined design has a smaller footprint compared with traditional extra-high voltage lines. Here, sections of the new tower are being built.
AEP Oklahoma Transmission Company rebuilt a 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to improve reliability in the Tulsa, Okla., area. The new line replaced wooden H-framed structures – some of which had been in service since the 1920s – with steel poles. One main focus of the Transcos is to improve local reliability transmission facilities. These are typically 100-kV and lower, and tend to be older and more susceptible to reliability threats.
AEP has a proven track record of building, operating and maintaining transmission systems and we are continuously seeking ways to do it more efficiently and cost-effectively. As more than 6,500 MW of coal-fueled generating capacity on the AEP system retire starting in 2015, transmission is a key to maintaining grid reliability.
To improve reliability, offset the loss of retired coal units and to support customer needs, we are investing significant capital in transmission. Between 2015 and 2019, the infrastructure improvements we’ll make in transmission will result in approximately 270 new or enhanced stations, more than 1,000 miles of new transmission lines and 2,880 miles of rebuilt transmission lines.
A transmission line inspection robot that was developed by the industry was given a trial run on an AEP conductor to test sensors, cameras and communication systems and to view the data. The robot is designed to identify obstacles which threaten performance in transmission rights-of-way, notably vegetation, and inspect the condition of conductors, insulators, towers and other facilities.