Construction is underway on a new FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) transmission substation in Trumbull County, Ohio, to support the energy demands of the area's rapidly expanding electric vehicle (EV) industry. The work is also expected to help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages experienced by Ohio Edison customers in the area.
The new transmission infrastructure, which includes construction of a short, high-voltage line along with the substation, will provide electric service to Ultium Cells LLC – an EV battery-cell manufacturing plant jointly backed by General Motors and South Korea's LG Chem. The company's 3 million-square-foot facility is expected to bring approximately 1,000 jobs to the area. In addition to supporting Ultium Cells, the new substation and line will strengthen the regional transmission system and benefit more than 15,000 Ohio Edison customers in Lordstown and neighboring communities.
As part of the $19.6 million project, utility crews completed the foundation work and erected steel structures at the new substation in Lordstown. In addition, crews are completing construction of a half-mile power line to connect the new substation to an existing 138-kV line located nearby. Such ties offer a backup power feed that will help keep the lights on for customers if wires or equipment on their regular line are damaged or need to be taken out of service.
"With the EV industry bringing new employment and business development opportunities to the Mahoning Valley, FirstEnergy and Ohio Edison are keeping pace by upgrading our system to meet the growing demand for safe and reliable power," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Ohio Edison and Penn Power. "This is an exciting time for EV development in our region and the entire country, and we're proud to support work to help advance this industry while strengthening our system for customers in the area."
Additional work, which includes constructing a third, new high-voltage line in Lordstown, is planned in April to accommodate Ultium Cells' projected future energy needs and provide further reliability enhancements for customers.
FirstEnergy and Ohio Edison continue to play a key role in the region's development by working to ensure the local power grid is ready to support the demands of other energy-intensive customers in the county including Lordstown Motors Corp. and a massive distribution facility owned by TJX Companies, parent of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. Utility personnel have spent the past year making improvements to infrastructure in the area to help ensure safe and reliable electric service when the companies are ready to start production.