A local public hearing regarding AEP Ohio Transmission Company’s (AEP Ohio Transco) proposed Bell Ridge-Devola 138-kV Transmission Line Project will be held on June 4 in Marietta, Ohio, an Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) administrative law judge (ALJ) said on March 27.
An evidentiary hearing on the matter will begin on June 18 at the offices of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio, the ALJ said, adding that petitions to intervene in the proceeding are due by May 18.
As noted in the ALJ’s filing, American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transco last December filed with the OPSB an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to build the new line.
According to the project’s webpage, AEP Ohio projects the Bell Ridge-Devola line would be an approximate $15m investment by the company.
As TransmissionHub reported, AEP Ohio Transco said in the application that it plans to build the new line from the proposed Bell Ridge substation southwest to the proposed Devola substation in Washington County, Ohio.
The project – located about 2.4 miles north of Marietta, Ohio – is one component of the overall Southeast Ohio Area Improvements Program, which will improve local service for customers, support economic development, and speed recovery of local service when outages occur, the company said.
AEP Ohio Transco, Ohio Power Company, Buckeye Power, Inc., and Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc., (Washington Co-op) 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, AEP Ohio Transco added, has reached an age where it is in need of rebuild and redesign to meet the needs of the customers across that region. The focus of the program 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, the company said.
Discussing the purpose of the Bell Ridge-Devola project, the company noted that the project would provide a 138-kV transmission line between the company’s proposed Bell Ridge substation and proposed Devola substation. The project would be the third segment of the overall program and would provide two-way transmission service to the Washington Co-op-owned Bell Ridge substation, and add a strong 138-kV source to AEP Ohio Transco’s future Devola substation, sourced from the Lamping 345/138-kV substation to the east, the company said.
That two-way transmission network would significantly improve service reliability to area customers, the company added.
Of the project’s general location, AEP Ohio Transco noted that the project begins about 4.5 miles southwest of Wingett Run, Ohio, at the proposed site of the Bell Ridge substation, located about 0.2 miles north of the intersection of State Route 26 and Bear Run Road.
The project terminates about 2.4 miles north of Marietta at the proposed site of the Devola substation, located about 0.6 mile east of the intersection of State Route 60 and State Route 821, the company said.
The project is about 10.1 miles to 10.2 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 is about 10.2 miles long, the company added. That route begins at the proposed Bell Ridge substation and runs immediately south for about 0.3 mile until it reaches AEP Ohio Transco’s existing 23-kV transmission line, the company said. Then, the route runs in a general west/southwest direction for about 6.9 miles, paralleling AEP Ohio Transco’s existing 23-kV transmission line. Before the route reaches Lynch Church Road, the route jogs northwest for 0.2 mile, then southwest for 0.1 mile, before continuing west along the company’s existing 23-kV transmission line for another 1.9 miles.
The company added that the route continues west for another 0.4 mile, crossing over Interstate 77 (I-77) and Mill Creek Road, before turning northwest and terminating at the proposed Devola substation.
The preferred route has the least area of woodlots within the ROW; the longest length paralleling AEP Ohio Transco’s existing 23-kV transmission line; and the longest length paralleling existing gas transmission line ROW, the company said.
Among other things, the company said that according to the project schedule, an OPSB decision is expected in the summer, and if the project is approved, structure construction would occur in fall 2019, with the project planned to be completed in fall 2020.