American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff on June 14 filed with the OPSB a stipulation and recommendation for adoption concerning the company’s proposed Rouse-Bell Ridge 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
The stipulation is intended by the parties to resolve all matters pertinent to the proposed project, which, as noted in the filing, involves the company building about 12.7 miles of new 138-kV transmission line between the proposed Rouse substation southwest to the proposed Bell Ridge substation in Monroe and Washington counties in Ohio.
The proposed project is one component of AEP Ohio Transco’s overall Southeast Ohio Area Improvements Program, the filing noted, adding that much of southeastern Ohio is served by an extensive and aging 23-kV distribution system, which has experienced poor reliability in recent years and cannot reliably serve the anticipated future load growth in the area.
The purpose of the project and overall program is to modernize the area’s transmission network, improve local service for customers, support economic development, and speed recovery of service when outages occur, the filing noted.
According to the filing, the signatory parties agree that the record in the case contains sufficient probative evidence for the OPSB to determine, as conclusions of law, that, for instance:
- The record establishes that the proposed project, if conditioned in the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need as recommended by the parties, represents the minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the state of available technology, as well as the nature and economics of the various alternatives
- The record establishes that the proposed preferred route for the project is consistent with plans for expansion of the regional power system, and serves the interests of electric system economy and reliability
As TransmissionHub reported, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a May 23 report filed with the OPSB, noted that the proposed project involves building the new overhead line, using H-frame, galvanized steel poles, and with the company proposing a 100-foot right of way (ROW) for the new line.
The preferred route, which is about 12.7 miles long and has total intangible and capital costs of about $14.5m, begins at the proposed Rouse substation in the southern part of Monroe County. The preferred route winds southwest for about 0.3 mile, crosses over State Route 26, and continues southwest for another 1.9 miles, before turning south for 0.4 mile, staff added.
The route runs southwest for 0.9 mile, crossing into Washington County, and crossing over State Route 260. Staff also said that the route continues south for 2.6 miles, then southwest and west for 1.5 miles to Wingett Run. During that 1.5-mile stretch, the route crosses over State Route 26 three times. Staff added that the route continues south, southwest, south, southwest from Wingett Run for the next 5.1 miles, crossing over State Route 26 seven times, before terminating at the proposed Bell Ridge substation in east-central Washington County.
The June 14 stipulation listed certain recommended conditions of the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, including that the facility is to be installed on the company’s preferred route, and that the certificate is to become invalid if the company has not started a continuous course of construction of the proposed facility within five years of the date of journalization of the certificate.
Among other things, the filing noted that conditions also include that the company is to adhere to seasonal cutting dates of Oct. 1 through March 31 for removal of any trees greater than, or equal to, three inches in diameter, unless coordination efforts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allow a different course of action.