The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) recently granted, subject to conditions, American Transmission Systems, Inc.’s (ATSI) applications to amend the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need involving the Hayes-West Fremont 138-kV transmission line project.
As noted in the March 2 order, the OPSB in August 2014 granted ATSI a certificate to build the line in Sandusky and Erie counties in Ohio. ATSI last July filed applications in three separate cases (Case Nos. 16-1593-EL-BTA, 16-1594-EL-BTA, and 16-1595-EL-BTA) to amend the certificate in order to add a second 138-kV circuit on existing structures. In Case No. 16-1593-EL-BTA, ATSI proposed to add a second 138-kV circuit on existing structures; in Case No. 16-1594-EL-BTA, ATSI proposed three adjustments to the route approved by the OPSB; and in Case No. 16-1595-EL-BTA, ATSI proposed seven adjustments to the route approved by the OPSB.
As TransmissionHub reported, OPSB staff, in an Oct. 27, 2016, report of investigation filed with the OPSB, said that ATSI’s applications involving requested amendments to an approved transmission line meet the necessary criteria for granting a certificate.
Discussing the staff’s investigation in the matter, the OPSB said in its March 2 order that since the three cases impact a common geographic area, for administrative efficiency, the cases are consolidated.
The proposed route adjustments are not expected to alter existing land use, the OPSB said, noting that most of the adjustments are in agricultural fields or small vacant stretches of land. The adjustments are intended to reduce land conflicts by avoiding underground infrastructure, including gas lines and field drainage tiles, the OPSB said.
Staff has determined that the proposed adjustments will not pose a significant increase in ecological impacts, the OPSB said.
In Case No. 16-1593-EL-BTA, ATSI said that while it did not propose the addition of a second circuit in its original application, it did discuss the addition of a second circuit, and designed the project to allow for a second circuit. At an additional cost of $9m over the original application, ATSI contends that the added pathway will correct circuit loading limitations in the area and enable the company to meet certain PJM Interconnection criteria to enhance stability, reliability, and safety, the OPSB added.
In Case No. 16-1594-EL-BTA, ATSI proposed three alignment adjustments: engineering studies show that a shift of 10 feet allows ATSI to adjust the line for proper clearances in proximity to existing transmission lines; the second adjustment allows for the removal of a structure that was intended to be placed in the center of a farm field; and the third adjustment would avoid placing three light angle structures and associated guying in agricultural fields.
The OPSB also said that in Case No. 16-1595-EL-BTA, ATSI proposed seven alignment adjustments and a small change adjacent to a portion of the Ohio Turnpike:
- The first and second adjustments avoid the bisection of agricultural land or drain tiles
- The third adjustment allows ATSI to avoid an existing gas transmission corridor
- The fourth adjustment removes a corner dead-end structure away from a collection of drainage pipes and a drainage collection area
- The fifth adjustment removes a two-pole guyed structure out of a farm field
- The sixth adjustment reduces the number of angle structures in an agricultural field
- The seventh adjustment eliminates a dead-end structure on a commercial property
The OPSB said that it finds that the proposed amendments promote the public convenience and necessity; will not result in any additional significant adverse social or environmental impacts; and do not constitute a substantial change in the location of all or a portion of such facility.
Among other things, the OPSB said that the applications are granted, subject to the conditions set forth in the August 2014 order.
ATSI is a FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) company.