American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff on Nov. 16 filed with the OPSB a joint stipulation intending to resolve all matters pertinent to the company’s proposed South Caldwell-Macksburg 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
As noted in the stipulation, the company has a critical need to reinforce its transmission system in southeastern Ohio, and the proposed project would provide additional transmission service to the Noble County and Washington County regions to improve electric service reliability in the southeastern Ohio area. Much of the area is now served by an extensive 23-kV distribution system, which would be retired and replaced with a new 138-kV transmission system.
The stipulation also noted that the project would provide such benefits as supporting economic development and potential shale gas investment in the area, faster recovery of service after outages, fewer service interruptions, and overall improved service.
The project would connect the company’s South Caldwell substation to the company’s Macksburg substation, through AEP Ohio Transco’s switch at Washington Electric Cooperative’s South Olive substation. The stipulation also said that the proposed project is one component of a larger transmission reinforcement program in southeastern Ohio, which would improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, and speed recovery of local service when outages occur.
The company and staff recommended that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the preferred route of the South Caldwell-Macksburg line, subject to the conditions described in the joint stipulation.
As TransmissionHub reported, the proposed project involves installing a new 138-kV overhead electric transmission line between the existing South Caldwell substation and the planned Macksburg station. The company has proposed a 100-foot right of way (ROW) for the new line, which would incorporate steel poles for support.
The preferred route of the project is about 8.1 miles long, divided into a northern section and a southern section. The northern section, staff added in an October report filed with the OPSB, would exit the South Caldwell substation, located about 1,000 feet south of the intersection of County Roads 4 and 86 in southern Noble County, as a single circuit transmission line in a southerly direction. The route would generally follow township roads 4 and 7 for about 2.2 miles, and then travel south and east. The northern section is about 4.8 miles and ends at the South Olive substation.
The southern section, staff added, is about 3.2 miles long, starting at the South Olive substation and heading in a southeasterly direction to the Macksburg substation. Most of that route follows an existing 23-kV line and would overbuild the line and ROW. Staff also noted that the company has finalized plans for the new Macksburg substation, which would be located about 990 feet southeast of the existing Macksburg substation. The currently existing 34.5/12-kV Macksburg substation would be taken out of service, staff said.
According to the stipulation, the recommended conditions of the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need include that AEP Ohio Transco is to conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities. Also, at least 30 days before that conference, the company is to submit to staff one set of detailed engineering drawings of the final project design, including temporary and permanent access roads, and construction staging areas, so that staff can determine that the final project design is in compliance with the terms of the certificate.
The stipulation further noted that the certificate is to become invalid if the company has not started a continuous course of construction of the proposed facility within five years of the date of filing the application.
In addition, before construction begins, the company is to develop a public information program that informs affected property owners of the nature of the project, specific contact information of company personnel who are familiar with the project, the proposed timeframe for project construction, and a schedule for restoration activities.
Among other thing, the stipulation also said that the company is to adhere to seasonal cutting dates of Oct. 1 through March 31 for removal of trees, unless coordination efforts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allow a different course of action.