American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff on Nov. 17 filed a joint stipulation and recommendation for adoption by the OPSB regarding the company’s proposed West Bellaire-Glencoe 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
In the joint stipulation, which is intended by the parties to resolve all matters pertinent to the proposed project, the company has made commitments to comply with OPSB staff conditions to minimize adverse impacts associated with the project.
As noted in the filing, AEP Ohio Transco plans to rebuild the existing single-circuit West Bellaire-Glencoe 69-kV line in Belmont County, Ohio, as a double-circuit 138-kV line, with one side of the circuit to initially be energized at 69 kV.
Installation of the 138-kV circuit would facilitate the installation of a 138-69-kV transformer source at the Glencoe substation, which would significantly improve reliability for the area and eliminate thermal loading under system contingencies, the filing said.
The project would improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, and speed recovery of local service when outages occur, the filing noted, adding that the project would also provide additional transmission service to Belmont County and improve electric service reliability in the southeastern Ohio area.
The filing noted that the benefits of the project include 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 proposed project would be located in Pultney, Richland, and Smith townships of Belmont County. The project would extend from the existing West Bellaire substation to the existing Glencoe substation for a total length of about six miles, the filing added.
The project would consist of supporting structures and conductors for a double-circuit 138-kV transmission line, with one side energized at 69 kV and the other side energized at 138 kV; the 69-kV side would serve Ohio Power Company’s Neffs distribution substation.
The recommended conditions of the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need include that the facility is to be installed on the company’s preferred route, utilizing the equipment, construction practices, and mitigation measures as presented in the company’s January application, as supplemented in August, and as further clarified by recommendations in the staff report.
The company is to conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities, the filing said.
Another recommended condition calls for the certificate to become invalid if the company has not commenced a continuous course of construction of the proposed facility within five years of the date of issuance of the certificate.
In addition, a recommended condition calls for the company to coordinate with the State Historic Preservation Office to determine if the project is likely to impact any archaeological or cultural resources that could be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Among other things, the filing added that the recommended conditions call for the company to adhere to seasonal cutting dates of Oct. 1 through March 31 for removal of any trees greater than or equal to three inches in diameter, unless coordination efforts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allow a different course of action.