American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff on June 11 filed with the OPSB a stipulation regarding the company’s application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the Ross-Ginger Switch 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
The stipulation is intended by the parties to resolve all matters pertinent to the proposed project, which involves AEP Ohio Transco rebuilding about 4.8 miles of the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV transmission line in Springfield Township, Ross County, Ohio, to 138-kV standards.
Once completed, the filing added, the new line would replace the existing Berlin-Ross line, which has been in service since 1926 and serves areas within Ross and Jackson counties. The 69-kV line, consisting of wood H-frame structures, would be taken out of service, and the new 138-kV line would operate at 69 kV until 138-kV standards would be needed to serve customer load, the filing noted.
The proposed facility is part of the company’s broader Ross-Jackson Area Improvements Project, which is designed to modernize and improve the reliability of the company’s transmission system in Ross and Jackson counties, the filing noted. The Ross-Ginger Switch project, as well as the overall Ross-Jackson Project would enhance service for customers, decrease power interruptions, and speed recovery of service when outages occur, the filing said.
The proposed Ross-Ginger Switch project would be located in Springfield Township, Ross County, extending from the Ginger Switch station to structure 235 of the existing Poston-Ross transmission line. The filing added that a combination of steel structures is proposed for the project, and that structure type would vary based on topography, with all proposed structures anticipated to average 100 feet tall.
As TransmissionHub reported, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a March 18 report filed with the OPSB, said that the proposed Ross-Ginger Switch project would allow the transmission system to provide safe and reliable electric service.
Staff noted that the proposed project involves installing the new 138-kV, overhead electric transmission line between the Ginger Switch station and the existing Poston-Ross Transmission Line, north of County Road 222 (Narrows Road). To meet 138-kV standards, the company has proposed a 100-foot right of way (ROW) for the new line, which would incorporate steel poles for support.
The company’s preferred route is about 4.8 miles long, and predominantly parallels the southern edge of the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV Transmission Line. The new line would be offset by about 25 feet to 50 feet from the centerline of the existing 69-kV line in order to ensure safer construction, while allowing the existing line to remain in service during construction.
The preferred route exits the Ginger Switch station and follows the existing 69-kV line to the northwest for about 3.8 miles. Staff added that the preferred route continues to the north in order to avoid crossing a different transmission line, and then reconnects with the alignment of the Berlin-Ross 69-kV Transmission Line for one mile, utilizing the existing centerline to the existing Poston-Ross 138-kV Transmission Line structure number 235.
As TransmissionHub reported last December, the preferred route has a total estimated cost of about $10.1m.
According to the June 11 stipulation, the record establishes the need for the proposed Ross-Ginger Switch project, which, if conditioned in the certificate 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 project, if conditioned in the certificate, would serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity, the filing noted.
The recommended conditions include that the facility is to be installed on the company’s preferred route; that the company is to conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities; 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 conditions also call for the company 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 allows a different course of action.