AEP gets OK for portion of Biers Run project

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on Sept. 30 authorized American Electric Power Ohio Transmission Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) to construct the Biers Run Substation at the company’s preferred site, a 102-acre parcel of land near Chillicothe, Ohio (OPSB Case No. 12-1361-EL-BSB).

The company filed its application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need (CEPCN) for Biers Run substation and associated facilities with the OPSB on Dec. 13, 2012. The 345/138/69-kV substation is part of the Biers Run Project, an overall transmission reinforcement effort to help maintain adequate transmission reliability in southern Ohio, It will cost an estimated $22m.

In addition to the new substation, the Biers Run project also includes two new 138-kV transmission lines: the Biers Run-Hopetown-Delano line and the Biers Run-Circleville line.

The Biers Run-Hopetown-Delano line will be approximately 12 miles long, depending on the route selected, and will extend primarily through Union Township in Ross County, Ohio, from the Biers Run station through the proposed Hopetown distribution station approximately 5.2 miles southeast of the Biers Run station site to the Delano Station, approximately 3.6 miles to the northeast of the Hopetown station site, according to AEP Ohio Transmission’s project website. The line is expected to cost approximately $11.25m.

The second transmission line, the Biers Run-Circleville line, will extend approximately 16.2 miles to the northeast in Pickaway County. AEP expects to begin work on the application for the second line later this year. The OPSB sets public hearings after the application is filed, and is responsible for reviewing all project information and determining whether the project should be approved.

Overall, the project is needed to address concerns about potential low voltages and thermal overloads, according to the company. Currently, three 138-kV transmission lines currently serve the Chillicothe and Circleville transmission area: the Harrison-Circleville, Poston-Ross and Waverly-Ross lines. Simultaneous outages on any two of these lines could drop voltages well below acceptable levels throughout the area, the company said. AEP’s proposed system improvements will address these issues.

AEP estimates it will invest $97m in the overall project; the company expects the project to enter service in late 2015.