American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company, Inc., and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff recently submitted a joint stipulation and recommendation for adoption by the OPSB that is intended to resolve all matters pertinent to the company’s proposed Macksburg-Devola 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
As noted in the joint stipulation, the company plans to build a new 138-kV electric transmission line from the proposed Macksburg substation south to the proposed Devola substation in Washington County, Ohio. The project is one component of the overall Southeast Ohio Area Improvements Program, which is designed to improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, and speed recovery of local service when outages occur.
The purpose of the Macksburg-Devola project is to provide additional transmission service to Washington County, and to improve electric service reliability in the southeastern Ohio area, the joint stipulation noted, adding that much of the area is served by an extensive 23-kV distribution system, which will be retired and replaced with a new 138-kV transmission system.
The proposed project is located in central Washington County, between Macksburg, Ohio and Marietta, Ohio. The joint stipulation further noted that the proposed project begins about 0.5 mile northwest of Macksburg at the proposed site of the Macksburg substation, located about 385 feet southwest of the intersection of Interstate 77 (I-77) and County Road 821, and extends generally south.
The proposed project terminates about 2.4 miles southeast of Devola, Ohio, at the proposed site of the Devola substation, located about 0.57 mile north of the intersection of Colegate Drive and Mill Creek Road. The joint stipulation added that between the proposed Macksburg substation and proposed Devola substation, the project connects to the proposed Buell substation – located about 1.1 miles east of Lowell, Ohio, and about 655 feet northeast of the intersection of Highway 60 and County Road 48 – and the Highland Ridge substation – located about 2.2 miles northeast of Devola and about 900 feet south of the intersection of I-77 and County Road 8.
The proposed project is about 15.7 miles to 16.5 miles in length, depending on the route selected, would be built using primarily steel monopoles, and would require a new 100-foot-wide permanent right of way (ROW).
The joint stipulation also noted that the parties recommend that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the Macksburg-Devola line, as identified in the application, and subject to certain conditions.
The record establishes that the proposed project will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity, the joint stipulation said.
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 as presented in the application and as modified and/or clarified by supplemental filings, replies to data requests, and by staff.
Also, the company is to conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities. The joint stipulation further noted that the recommended conditions include that the certificate is 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 journalization of the certificate.
In addition, prior to construction, the company is to finalize coordination of the assessment of potential effects of the proposed line on cultural resources, if any, with staff and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
Among other things, the filing said that the recommended conditions include that the company is to adhere to the seasonal cutting dates of Oct. 1 through March 31 for removal of trees three inches in diameter or greater, unless coordination efforts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allow a different course of action.