American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff – collectively referred to as the parties – on July 5 filed with the OPSB a stipulation intended by the parties to resolve all matters pertinent to the company’s proposed Buckley Road-Fremont Center 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
As noted in the stipulation, the company plans to rebuild 15.4 miles of the existing 17.6-mile Allendale-Fremont Center 69-kV transmission line in Seneca and Sandusky counties in Ohio to 138-kV standards.
The proposed project would be built to 138-kV design capabilities and energized at 69 kV, the stipulation noted, adding that the purpose of the project is to replace aged existing infrastructure, the majority of which was initially built in 1916.
AEP Ohio Transco has identified that the deterioration of the existing line has created reliability and service concerns, as well as increased risk of interruptions. The stipulation added that the benefits of the project include faster recovery of service after outages, reduced risk of service interruptions, and overall improved service to customers. By building the line to 138-kV standards, the company would be able to energize the line at 138 kV in an expedited fashion when necessary in the future, the stipulation noted.
As TransmissionHub reported, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a June 8 report filed with the OPSB, said that the project’s preferred route is about 15.4 miles long, with 4.9 miles of the line requiring new right of way (ROW). The preferred route begins at the existing Allendale-Fremont Center line and runs southwest for about 15.4 miles through the village of Burgoon, through the town of Kansas, and through the town of Amsden, before terminating at the proposed Buckley Road Tap in the city of Fostoria. Staff added that AEP Ohio Transco estimates the total cost for the preferred route to be about $23.1m. The company plans to begin construction in early 2019, and to place the line in service in winter 2020, staff said.
According to the July 5 stipulation, the parties recommend that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the project, subject to certain conditions.
The record establishes that the proposed project, 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, and other pertinent considerations, as required.
The stipulation added that the record also establishes that the project, if conditioned in the certificate as recommended by the parties, would serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
According to the stipulation, the recommended conditions of the certificate include that the facility is to be installed on the applicant’s alternate route, which, as TransmissionHub reported, has an estimated total cost of about $24.1m.
According to commission staff’s June 8 report, the alternate route is about 16.7 miles long, with 5.9 miles of the line requiring new ROW. The alternate route begins at the existing Allendale-Fremont Center line and runs southwest for about 16.7 miles around the Village of Burgoon, around the town of Kansas, and around the town of Amsden before terminating at the proposed Buckley Road Tap in the city of Fostoria, staff said.
The stipulation noted that other conditions include 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.
In addition, the stipulation said that the conditions 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 with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows a different course of action.