Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff, in an Oct. 27 report of investigation filed with the OPSB, said that American Transmission Systems, Inc.’s (ATSI) applications involving requested amendments to an approved transmission line meet the necessary criteria for granting a certificate.
As noted in the report, ATSI is proposing to amend its certificate in case number 12-1636-EL-BTX, the Hayes-West Fremont 138-kV Transmission Line Project, and has filed three separate amendments addressing their original use. Staff said that it believes that its findings and recommendations for the amendments are best combined into one staff report.
Staff said that it would require ATSI to conform to conditions of the original certificate in order to best protect social and ecological resources associated with the project.
In case number 16-1593-EL-BTA, ATSI seeks authorization to install a second 138-kV circuit onto the open arm position of the same structures that would be installed for the Hayes-West Fremont Line. While ATSI did not request to install a second 138-kV circuit during the original review process, the potential for a second future circuit was discussed in ATSI’s application, staff added. Also, ATSI’s original design did provide for the potential installation of a future second circuit, staff said, noting that ATSI anticipates an additional cost of $9m to install the proposed second circuit.
In the second and third amendments (case numbers 16-1594-EL-BTA and 16-1595-EL-BTA), ATSI proposes adjustments to the certificated alignment, staff said, adding that all of the adjustments result from property owner requests to ATSI, and are located in Sandusky, Riley, Townsend and York townships in Sandusky County and Groton and Perkins townships in Erie County.
According to ATSI, staff said, without the addition of the Hayes-West Fremont second circuit, ATSI would be unable to comply with the required NERC and PJM Interconnection planning criteria, making the system unstable and unreliable, and resulting in possible penalties from FERC.
The PJM Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) process revealed system overloads and the PJM Board of Directors has approved the project.
Staff also said that potential impacts on land use were previously reviewed during the certification process for ATSI’s facility, noting that the proposed route adjustments are not expected to significantly alter existing land use. The adjustments are designed to reduce land use conflicts by avoiding underground infrastructure such as gas lines and drainage tiles, staff said.
Among other things, staff said that ecological impacts were also evaluated in ATSI’s original application and the proposed alignment adjustments are not expected to increase impacts to ecological features such as threatened or endangered species.