American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff – collectively referred to as the parties – on Sept. 11 filed with the OPSB a stipulation that is intended to resolve all matters pertinent to the company’s proposed Ginger Switch-Vigo 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
As noted in the filing, AEP Ohio Transco plans to rebuild about seven miles of the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV transmission line in Springfield, Liberty, and Jefferson townships in Ross County, Ohio to 138-kV standards. Once completed, the new line would replace the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV line, which has been in service since 1926 and serves areas within Ross and Jackson counties. The filing also noted that the 69-kV line, consisting of wood H-frame structures, would be taken out of service, and that the new 138-kV line would operate at 69 kV until 138-kV standards would be needed to serve customer load.
A combination of steel structures is proposed for the project, and the majority of the project would be composed of tangent, H-Frame structures, which are anticipated to average 100 feet tall.
The proposed facility is part of the company’s broader Ross-Jackson Area Improvements Project, the filing added. The goal of the Ross-Jackson Project is to modernize and improve the reliability of the company’s transmission system in Ross and Jackson counties. The filing also said that the Ginger Switch-Vigo project and the overall Ross-Jackson Project would enhance service for customers, decrease power interruptions, and speed recovery of service when outages occur.
In the stipulation, the company has made commitments to comply with staff conditions to minimize adverse impacts associated with the project. The filing added that the parties recommend that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the Ginger Switch-Vigo project, subject to the conditions set forth in the stipulation.
According to the stipulation, the record establishes, for instance:
- The need for the proposed Ginger Switch-Vigo project
- That the 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
- 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
The stipulation includes such recommended conditions as that the facility is to be installed on the company’s preferred route, utilizing equipment, construction practices, and mitigation measures as presented in the March application and further clarified by staff; that the company is to conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities; and that within 60 days after the commencement of commercial operation, the company is to submit to staff a copy of the as-built specifications for the entire facility.
Another condition calls for the certificate to become invalid if the company has not commenced a continuous course of construction of the proposed facility within five years of the date of journalization of the certificate.
The stipulation also noted that another condition calls 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.
Among other things, the stipulation said that another condition calls for the company to not dispose of construction material, during or following construction of the facility, by spreading such material on agricultural land, and that all construction debris, as well as all contaminated soil, is to be promptly removed and properly disposed of in accordance with Ohio EPA regulations.
In a Sept. 11 motion filed with the OPSB, AEP Ohio Transco said that it moves for a one-day extension of the deadline to file testimony in this case to Sept. 11. The company said that it had reserved the right to request further modification of the procedural schedule when it had previously requested a Sept. 10 deadline be established.
The parties have been finalizing the stipulation and recommendation, which the parties intended to file by Sept. 10, but were unable to do so until Sept. 11. The company added that since the stipulation was finalized and filed on Sept. 11, it requests an expedited ruling to grant permission to file the supporting testimony one day past the deadline and the company is submitting the proposed testimony “instanter” for efficiency.