An administrative law judge (ALJ) with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on July 12 granted American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) a waiver in connection to the company’s proposed Barnesville–Summerfield 138-kV transmission line rebuild project.
As noted in the ALJ’s filing, AEP Ohio Transco in March filed with the OPSB a pre-application notification letter for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the proposed rebuild project traversing Warren Township, Belmont County, Millwood Township, Guernsey County, and Marion and Beaver townships, Noble County, Ohio.
As TransmissionHub reported, the company on July 1 filed an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need with the OPSB for the proposed project.
The project involves rebuilding and upgrading the existing 69-kV facilities built in the 1940s with 138-kV lines and structures that are somewhat taller and of sturdier construction. The ALJ’s filing further noted that according to the company, the project is needed to help ensure the continued reliability of the transmission system, which is vital to AEP Ohio Transco’s current customers and supports the development of the area’s economy.
The company in June filed a motion seeking a waiver from certain Ohio Administrative Code, which defines the field survey area under the ecological rule to cover a field survey of the vegetation and surface waters within 100 feet of the potential disturbance area of the facility. AEP Ohio Transco said that that is a new requirement set forth in the rules that became effective last December, which was not in place when the company conducted similar, but not equivalent, field studies in 2015. Due to those circumstances, the company requested a waiver from that survey requirement, to the extent that the study area under certain new rules exceeds the area studied by the company, the filing added.
The company said that it would perform additional field surveys in any affected portions of the preferred or alternate route, should a route change have an impact requiring further study into the disturbance area, according to the filing.
Staff on June 23 filed its response, saying that it does not object to the company’s requested waiver, but reserves the right to require information from the company in the site/route area covered by the requested waiver if staff determines it to be necessary during the course of the investigation, the filing noted.