American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company on Jan. 30 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for its proposed Buckley Road-Fremont Center 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
According to the application, the company proposes to rebuild 15.4 miles of the existing 17.6-mile Allendale-Fremont Center 69-kV electric transmission line in Seneca and Sandusky counties in Ohio.
The new asset would be built to 138-kV design capabilities and energized at 69 kV.
The company added that it is necessary to replace that section of the line due to the age and deterioration of the existing line. Rebuilding the line would eliminate the risks for overloading and enhance reliability for area customers, the company said. The project would improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, improve system resiliency, and speed recovery of local service due to the occurrence of outages, the company said.
Most of the existing line was built in 1916, and would be retired. The deteriorated transmission line equipment would be replaced with modern structures and wires to reduce the risk of component failures and resultant outages to the Poet Biorefining plant on the east side of Fostoria, Ohio, and the North Central Electric Cooperative Jackson substation near Amsden, Ohio, the company added.
The project would be located in Jackson and Liberty townships in Seneca County, as well as Jackson and Ballville townships in Sandusky County. The company added that the project would extend from the existing Allendale Switches to Structure 254 on the existing Allendale-Fremont Center 69-kV transmission line.
The project would consist of supporting structures and conductors for a combination of eight double-circuit structures connecting to the Waverly Switch (about 0.6 mile), and single-circuit structures (about 14.8 miles).
All proposed structures are anticipated to average 85 feet in height with a proposed average span of 500 feet, the company added.
AEP Ohio Transco noted that it identified preferred and alternates routes for the project. More land use features are located within 1,000 feet of the preferred route because it is closer to the developed areas along the route. However, the company said, features within closer proximity (i.e., within 100 feet), remain similar. The closest residence to both routes are about 60 feet away, and no buildings were identified within the right of way (ROW) of either the preferred or alternate routes, the company said.
There are no residences within the ROW on either the preferred or alternate route. The company added that there are 11 residences within 1,000 feet of the centerline on the preferred route, and seven on the alternate. Within 500 feet of the centerline, there are 103 residences on the preferred route and 61 on the alternate route.
The company added that there are no business/commercial buildings found within the ROW. There are four buildings within 500 feet of the centerline on the preferred route, and two on the alternate route, the company said.
No schools were identified within 1,000 feet of the preferred route centerline, and while one place of worship was identified within about 200 feet of the preferred route, that institution is farther from the preferred route than the current centerline, the company said.
In addition, no cemeteries, hospitals, and assisted living facilities were found within 250 feet of the centerline. The company also said that no parks, recreational areas, or scenic byways were crossed by the ROW. One archaeological site was found within 250 feet along the preferred route, the company said, adding that its consultant identified the site as not eligible for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Property; it is not a landmark.
The preferred route is about 4.9 miles long, and combined with the corresponding rebuild sections, the total combined length for the project is about 15.4 miles.
The preferred route has 11 acres of tree clearing required within the ROW, while the alternate route has 8.2 acres of tree clearing required within the ROW. The company said that although the preferred route requires more tree clearing, the portions in which the trees would be cleared are along existing ROW that would need to be widened due to a change in structure height. In addition, the reason for the larger amount of tree clearing is to avoid being within farmland, which provides less of an impact to property owners in most cases, the company said.
AEP Ohio Transco added that it plans to begin construction of the line in early 2019, and that the project has an estimated in-service date of winter 2020.
Early estimates show the project to be an approximate $22m investment, the company said.
Among other things, the company said that the Buckley Road-Fremont Center project would be submitted to PJM Interconnection in the spring as a supplemental project in order to address aged infrastructure where close visual examination has concluded it to be at the end of its physical life.