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FAIRMONT, WV-Allegheny Energy has acquired a nine-acre parcel of land in the I-79 High Technology Park here on which it will build a new operations center that will manage its electric grid and serve as a facility for its multi-state transmission functions.

The energy provider is just beginning the design process for the facility, which a spokesman estimates will be developed for roughly $50 million. Other details, such as the approximate square footage of the building, have not yet been finalized, he tells GlobeSt.com.

Allegheny will break ground on the facility sometime in 2009, with delivery expected in mid-2011. Approximately 150 managerial, professional, technical, and administrative positions will be located in the new building. Many of these people are currently based in Pennsylvania, the spokesman says. “But we have known for some time that with changes in technology and the new standards for transmission reliability and transmission security, we were going to need a new transmission center, so we decided to consolidate operations in Fairmont.”

The energy provider also needed a new center to support the complex requirements of its two major expansion projects currently underway, says Paul Evanson, chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. These are the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line, new 500-kV line extending from Southwestern Pennsylvania to West Virginia to Northern Virginia and the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, a 290-mile, extra-high voltage transmission line from West Virginia into Maryland. West Virginia Public Service Commission extracted a pledge from Allegheny to build the center in the state, the spokesperson said.

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