AES Ohio unveils $100M plan to serve expected Honda EV battery plant
Jan. 20—To serve a planned power-hungry Honda electric vehicle battery plant in Fayette County, Dayton's AES Ohio says it will need to build 13 miles of 350-kilovolt power lines, with 2.5 miles of a 69-kilovolt line, a pair of new substations for transmission while relocating a distribution substation.
In all, the plan involves what will be the electric utility's largest substation in its service territory. AES Ohio will invest $100M in the project, a spokeswoman said.
Honda and LG Energy Solution last year announced plans for a $4.4 billion investment to produce batteries for electric vehicles about an hour's drive southeast of Dayton. The investment includes a new plant in Fayette County, as well as retooling at existing Honda assembly and engine plants.
Construction of the Honda/LG plant is expected to begin early this year, followed by mass production of lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2025.
In all, AES Ohio (formerly Dayton Power & Light) expects to serve an estimated additional 140MVA (megavolt amperes) of new load by August 2024.
The lines and infrastructure will involve new line poles of up to 195 feet in height, stretching from Milledgeville north through western Fayette County, across part of lower Madison County to the southeastern corner of Clark County, according to a map on the utility's web site showing a planned route for transmission equipment.
The project calls for the use of self-supporting steel poles ranging from about 115 to 195 feet in height, with an approximate right-of-way easement width of 150 to 250 feet.
The utility said it has studied the area between substations to identify route options for the transmission line. "The proposed route for the project largely follows railroad right-of-way, road right-of-way and property lines," the company's web site says.
"The team has really been focused on this," said Mary Ann Kabel, a spokeswoman for AES Ohio.
Construction is expected to start this summer, continuing through the summer of 2024. The utility has applied to the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is responsible for considering the project.
Matthew Butler, a spokesman for the board, said the overall project will be filed as three individual cases or filings, and as of Wednesday afternoon, one case had been submitted. A review is underway on that one, the Madison or northernmost substation, Butler said.
Considering the overall project should take about 90 days for each filing, he said. But he cautioned that it could take longer.
"I would say it's a significant project, but it's certainly not uncommon for us to see projects of this scale," Butler said.
How to respond to project
Residents may submit comments on the case to the Ohio Power Siting Board at contactOPSB@puc.state.oh.us or via mail to Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 E. Broad Street, Columbus OH 43215.
All correspondence must include the official case number, 22-1079-EL-BLN.