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Station namesake happy with progress of EHV system

by on May 3, 2013

(Story by Stephen J. Ostrander)

Vassell

Gregory Vassell

Gregory Vassell, the former AEP senior vice president of System Planning who pioneered the company’s development of extra-high voltage transmission, visited the construction site of the 765/345/138-kilovolt (kV) “super” station in Central Ohio that bears his name.

“I am happy to see how the system has developed,” said Vassell, now age 91. Vassell retired at the end of 1987 after a 36-year career with AEP.

Vassell toured the site, located in Sunbury, Ohio, April 26 with Michael Heyeck, senior vice president – AEP Transmission, Scott Joseph, project manager for Vassell Station and Jon Cronin, transmission line manager. When it is completed in 2014, Vassell Station will be connected to AEP’s Kammer-Marysville-Dumont 765-kV line, which Gregory Vassell helped to plan in the 1960s, and to nearby Trent Station via a 138-kV line.

Construction of foundations and structural steel to support the transformers, circuit breakers, drop-in control modules and other equipment has begun at the 765-kV, 345-kV and 138-kV sites. The location covers 265 acres.

Vassell had distinguished career at AEP

Vassell began his career as an assistant engineer in 1951, soon after his arrival from Europe with an electrical engineering degree from the Technical University in Berlin. He also earned a graduate degree in corporate finance from New York University. Vassell rose to engineer in 1960, assistant manager of high-voltage planning in 1961, and section manager in 1962. Continuing a distinguished career, Vassell became vice president of system planning in 1973 and senior vice president in 1976.

Vassell promoted development of AEP’s extra-high voltage transmission system, including the 765-kV network, now the nation’s largest. His analysis of the causes of the 1965 blackout led to his participation in the founding of the East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement.

The AEP executive was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of the CIGRE (International Council on Large Electric Systems) and an alternate representative on the U.S. national committee for the World Energy Conference. In 1980, he was elected a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering for his contributions in the field of electric energy.

Vassell becomes the second former AEP senior leader to be the namesake of a station on the Kammer-Marysville-Dumont 765-kV line. A similar honor went to Ray Maliszewski, the senior vice president of system planning following Vassell’s retirement at the end of 1987.

Landscaping surrounds new station

The station will feature extensive landscaping and mounding to improve site appearance. Three culturally-sensitive historical areas within the site will be left undisturbed, including an early 19th century farmstead and small caches of Native American artifacts. Some land at the site may be cultivated by local farmers.

View of Vassell Station 765-kV construction site from solar web camera.

View of Vassell Station 765-kV construction site from solar web camera.

Once in service, Vassell Station will generate $7.6 million in local property taxes, with $5.4 million benefiting Big Walnut Local School District and $1.3 million for Delaware County. The site will employ about 165 workers during the construction period.

Other area upgrades related to the Vassell project include improvements to 138-kV breakers at the nearby Beatty, Delaware and Hyatt stations; 345-kV breakers at Corridor and Hyatt stations; various 345-kV and 138-kV transmission line improvements, and remote end relaying improvements at Maliszewski, Gahanna, Morse and associated stations.

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