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FirstEnergy invests $6 million to meet rising demand from shale industry

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning Valley benefits from the shale-gas industry’s rising demand for electricity in the region.

FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy company, recently completed $6 million in new transmission projects in response to the demand. “Part of the gas industry’s success relies on its ability to access safe, affordable and reliable electric power, and we are committed to meeting the demanding requirements of this fast-growing segment,” Randall A. Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, said in a statement.

Among the projects are a $3 million 3.5-mile, 138-kilovolt transmission line to serve the Pennant Midstream Hickory Bend natural-gas processing facility in Mahoning County. The new line connects with an existing transmission line in Mahoning County, and allows for future expansion of the Pennant facility, which uses large amounts of electricity to separate natural gas into dry and liquid components.

The Pennant Midstream facility is a joint venture between Hilcorp Energy Co. and NiSource Midstream LLC.

In related news, Government predicts shale slowdown as oil falls.

“The Hickory Bend facility has been built to mostly run on electric equipment, which reduces emissions while allowing safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable operations. The electric transmission line installed by FirstEnergy helps ensure a reliable flow of power to our facility for years to come,” said Scott Castleman, manager of external communications for the Columbia Pipeline Group, the parent company of NiSource Midstream.

The other $3 million project completed was a substation upgrade in southern Columbiana County to serve the Kensington processing facility that’s operated by Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC. The upgrade will help reduce the number and duration of power outages in the area, and provide greater operational flexibility to manage the local electric system.

The projects were completed within a year — half the time that it usually takes. Operations were aligned to work swifter to complete the projects.

“They were done in a very tight deadline,” FirstEnergy Spokesman Doug Colafella said.

The new facilities are projected to generate about 125 megawatts of electric load growth, the equivalent of adding more than 60,000 new homes to Ohio Edison’s system.

Customers will see enhanced service, Colefella said.

“It benefits everybody,” he said. “It also benefits the electric system in the region.”

The projects are part of $250 million in regulated transmission investments identified through 2015 across FirstEnergy to account for 1,100 megawatts of proposed electric load growth in 2015 through 2019.

 

This article was written by Brandon Klein from Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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