American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company on Dec. 13 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the Ross-Ginger Switch 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project, which is located entirely within Springfield Township in Ross County, Ohio.
The project is externally known as the Springfield 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project or the Lick-Ross Line Rebuild, the company said, adding that the project is part of the overall Ross-Jackson Area Improvements Project, which has been implemented to improve the reliability of the electric transmission grid in Ross and Jackson counties in Ohio.
The Ross-Ginger Switch project involves rebuilding about 4.8 miles of the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV transmission line to 138-kV standards.
The company added that construction of the project is anticipated to begin in fall 2018, and end in fall 2019. Upon completion of the new line, the existing 69-kV line is planned to be removed.
The company also noted that the purpose of the project is to replace aging equipment with modern structures and wires to improve electric service reliability. The existing Berlin-Ross line, which was built in 1926, would be retired and replaced with a new 138-kV line, although it would be initially energized at 69 kV.
The project begins at the existing Ginger switch station, located just west of C.R. 213A and continues about 4.8 miles northwest to the interconnection with the Poston-Ross 138-kV transmission line. The interconnection is located just north of C.R. 222, which lies 0.5-mile northeast of the city of Chillicothe, Ohio, the company added.
The preferred route begins at the existing Ginger switch station and continues northwest, paralleling the southern edge of the existing Berlin-Ross line right of way (ROW) through agricultural and forested land use for about 3.8 miles. The company added that the alignment then jogs to the north briefly, spanning the existing ROW in order to avoid an encroachment with an existing electric transmission line structure associated with a different transmission line not related to the project.
After avoiding the structure, AEP Ohio Transco intends to rebuild the remaining one mile of the project utilizing the existing centerline and ROW of the Berlin-Ross line until reaching the interconnect location with the Poston-Ross line, the company said.
The preferred route has a total estimated cost of about $10.1m.
The company also said that the preferred route is located within 1,000 feet of 29 residences, none of which are within the planned potential disturbance area; it is not located within 1,000 feet of any commercial or industrial buildings. Also, no schools or hospitals are located within the planned potential disturbance area or within 1,000 feet of the preferred route.
The company further noted that the preferred and alternate routes would minimally impact the Ross Lake Wildlife Area, with the preferred route having a slightly reduced encroachment due to its southerly shift away from the parkland.
About 23% of the preferred route centerline crosses agriculture land, the company said, noting that about 10.9 acres of agricultural land is located within the ROW of the preferred route.
The potential impacts of the project on agricultural land use include potential damage to crops that may be present, disturbance of underground field drainage systems, compaction of soils and potential for temporary reduction of crop productivity. The company said that in order to minimize damage to agricultural land, it – to the extent practical – would place poles beyond or at the edges of agricultural fields.
Among other things, the company said that the viewsheds along the preferred and alternate routes from residences and potentially sensitive vantage points may be slightly altered by the presence of the rebuilt transmission line, but not comparatively significant as there are already existing structures and wires present immediately adjacent to the preferred route, and the alternate route is nearly identical to the existing line.