American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) on Jan. 9 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the Rouse-Bell Ridge 138-kV Transmission Line Project, which is one component of the overall Southeast Ohio Area Improvements Program.
As noted in the application, the company plans to build the new line from the proposed Rouse substation southwest to the proposed Bell Ridge substation in Monroe County and Washington County in Ohio.
Discussing the need for the proposed facility, the company noted that it, Ohio Power Company, Buckeye Power, and Washington Electric Cooperative have agreed to implement a long-term plan aimed at enhancing the reliability of the southeast Ohio area electric transmission and distribution network. That infrastructure has reached an age where it is in need of rebuild and redesign to meet the needs of the customers across that region, the company said.
The companies have developed a multi-year construction plan that would replace much of the transmission and distribution infrastructure in place today.
The focus of the overall program, AEP Ohio Transco added, is to rebuild the area’s aged 23-kV infrastructure into a 138-kV network and redesign the system to improve reliability for customers across the region. Ultimately, the series of improvements and investment in the area would provide a looped transmission system from the proposed Lamping to Devola 138-kV substations, the company said.
Discussing the purpose of the proposed Rouse-Bell Ridge project, the company noted that the project would be the fourth segment of the overall transmission line program and would provide two-way transmission service to the Washington Co-op-owned Rouse and Bell Ridge substations, as well as facilitate a strong 138-kV source to AEP’s future Devola substation, sourced from the Lamping 345/138-kV station to the east.
The purpose of the project is to provide additional transmission service to the counties and to improve electric service reliability in the southeastern Ohio area. Much of the area is served by an extensive 23-kV distribution system, which would be retired and replaced with a new 138-kV transmission system, the company added.
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 company said.
The proposed project begins about 4.2 miles south of Graysville, Ohio, at the proposed site of the proposed Rouse substation site, located south of the intersection of Pleasant Ridge Road and State Route 26, the company said.
The proposed project terminates about 4.5 miles southwest of Wingett Run, Ohio, at the proposed site of the Bell Ridge substation, located about 0.2 mile northeast of the intersection of State Route 26 and Bear Run Road.
The company added that the proposed project is about 12.7 miles to 12.8 miles long, depending on the route selected; would be built using primarily steel H-frame structures; and would require a new, approximately 100-foot-wide permanent right of way (ROW).
The entirety of the preferred route from the proposed Rouse substation to the proposed Bell Ridge substation is about 12.7 miles long. That route, the company added, begins at the proposed Rouse substation and runs southwest for about 0.3 mile, crosses over State Route 26, then continues southwest for another 1.9 miles. The route then runs south for 0.4 mile, then southwest for 0.9 mile, crossing State Route 260 and crossing into Washington County.
Once over the Washington/Monroe county line, the route runs south for 2.6 miles, then southwest and west for 1.5 miles to Wingett Run, crossing over State Route 26 three times, the company added. From Wingett Run, the route runs south, southwest, south, southwest for 5.10 miles, crosses over State Route 26 seven times, and terminates at the proposed Bell Ridge substation.
The company also said that the preferred route:
- Is among the shortest routes
- Has the smallest area requiring tree clearing within the ROW
- Has the shortest length of federal land crossed by the ROW
- Has the longest length paralleling existing linear infrastructure
- Has the longest length for potentially overbuilding existing electric lines
Among other things, the company noted that according to the project schedule, the OPSB decision is expected in the summer, and if approved, structure construction would begin in fall 2019, with the project completed by fall 2020.