AEP Ohio’s proposed Biers Run project shifts into gear

AEP Ohio Transmission Co. is holding an informational open house meeting on May 16 to discuss a 12-mile portion of the $97m Biers Run project.

The Biers Run project involves construction of the proposed $22m, 345/138/69-kV Biers Run substation; the 12-mile, $11.3m, 138-kV line in Ross County that will run from the Biers Run substation through the Hopetown substation to the existing Delano substation; and a second 138-kV line that will run from the Biers Run substation to the existing Circleville substation 16 miles to the northeast in Pickaway County, according to the company’s application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need (CECPN).

The deadline to intervene in AEP Ohio Transmission Co.’s proposed Biers Run project is May 28.

The American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) subsidiary filed its CECPN application for Biers Run substation and associated facilities with the Ohio Public Siting Board (OPSB) on Dec. 13, 2012. The company will file its formal application for the Biers Run – Hopetown – Delano line in the fall. If approved, construction on the line could begin in the fall of 2014, with completion in late 2015.

AEP expects to begin construction on the substation in 3Q13, beginning with the station access road and associated bridge. The substation is scheduled to enter service around 2Q15, the company said.

The Biers Run project is needed to increase reliability in southern Ohio, according to the CECPN application.

Though Ross County is home to 13 threatened or endangered species, AEP said none of the species was sighted during its field investigation. According to comments submitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which reviewed the project, threatened or endangered species include the bald eagle, the Indiana bat, several state and federally endangered mussel species, an amphibian called the Eastern hellbender, the timber rattlesnake, two types of state-endangered fish, a state-endangered butterfly species and the black bear. If certain measures are taken, none of these species will be affected by the project, they said.

AEP proposed a preferred and alternate site for the substation. The company conducted a site selection study to identify viable locations based on the siting criteria, while avoiding or limiting impacts to sensitive land uses, ecological, and cultural features in the project vicinity.

“The study focused on overall properties in order to identify candidates for purchase by AEP,” the company said in the application. “AEP wished to acquire a property large enough to have viable preferred and alternate sites in order to avoid uncertainty associated with property availability and possible condemnation.”

The project at its peak is expected to create about 50 construction jobs. It is also estimated to produce up to $1.1m in property taxes to Ross County and the local community.

The May 16 informational open house will be held at the Pioneer School of Developmental Disabilities in Chillicothe, Ohio. A local public hearing will be held on June 11 in Chillicothe, and an evidentiary hearing on June 25 at the Public Utilitiies Commission of Ohio in Columbus.

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.