AEP project to improve electrical capacity near the future Google data center
A power capacity upgrade project is underway on the South Side of Columbus, near the site of a future Google data center.
Known as the Parsons Avenue Transmission Projectthe effort is aimed at improving electric service for area residents and future development, according to an official with American Electric Power Ohio.
“It just means we’re bringing more energy to the area,” said AEP Project Outreach Specialist Brian Recker. “It allows for additional capacity, and so if there are future developments in the area … the power grid could accommodate that.”
Recker said the project will benefit both residents and a “future AEP customer” coming from the south side, but it will not name the customer.
Two substations, including a new one, will be located just north of a $300 million Google data center being built on part of the former Hartman Farm, east of South High Street, south of Rathmell Road, west of Parsons Avenue and north of nearby Scioto Downs. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 and employ 20 people.
The project will remove five miles of electricity pylons from Marion Road to just south of the Rathmell and Parsons intersection. The towers will be replaced with three miles of modern electric towers that will run from Interstate 270 to the Route 23 interchange, Recker said.
The towers will connect to the Parsons substation, located south of the Rathmell and Parsons intersection, and to the Cyprus substation which is currently under construction further south.
“This original line was kind of built in the 1920s, so it’s reached an age where it really needs to be treated for future reliability,” Recker said.
How much will this project cost and who will foot the bill?
A April estimate set the capital cost of the project at $1.7 million.
The towers currently serving the area generate 40 kilovolts of electricity, which was standard when they were built in the 1920s. Modernized power pylons will run on 138 kilovolts, Recker said.
The improved electric service will not result in higher residential electricity bills, according to the AEP.
The cost is factored into the larger infrastructure management plan and shared with the future client, according to Far South Side Area Commissioner Bruce Miller, who lives in Parsons and currently has a power tower in his front yard that will be removed as part of the project. .
The transmission line project will remove all electrical towers from residential lots within the work area.
Construction began last fall and is expected to continue through summer 2023. The process of removing the power tower will begin in 2023 following the completion of the Cyprus substation.
Roads will be closed during the construction process, leading Miller to worry about access to work area lots, including residents’ homes, Buckeye Middle School and Columbus Fire Station 22. .
However, Recker said AEP intends to “work with the surrounding region to work on any type of road closures needed to ensure safety when we take down the transmission line.”