The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), in a Sept. 20 order, directed that a certificate be issued to AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the company’s Buckley Road-Fremont Center 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
The OPSB also noted that it approves and adopts a stipulation and recommendation between its staff and the company regarding the project.
As noted in the order, AEP Ohio Transco in January filed its application for the project, which involves rebuilding a 15.4-mile section of the existing 17.6-mile Allendale-Fremont Center 69-kV electric transmission line in Seneca and Sandusky counties in Ohio. According to the application, the OPSB said, it is necessary to replace that section of the line due to the age and deterioration of the existing 69-kV line. Rebuilding the line will eliminate the risks for overloading and enhance reliability for area customers, the OPSB said, adding that the project is expected to improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, improve system resiliency, and speed recovery of local service due to the occurrence of outages.
The OPSB noted that the existing 69-kV line was placed into service more than 100 years ago, adding that many of the replacement support structures and hardware components are unavailable.
Further discussing the project, the OPSB noted that the project will be built to 138-kV design capabilities and energized at 69 kV. By building the line to 138-kV standards, AEP Ohio Transco will be able to upgrade conductors and energize the line at 138 kV in an expedited fashion when necessary in the future, the OPSB said.
The line will run between AEP Ohio Transco’s Buckley Road and Fremont Center substations. The OPSB also said that the project will consist of supporting structures and conductors for a combination of eight double-circuit structures and single-circuit structures. Structure type will vary based on topography, and all proposed structures are anticipated to average 85 feet in height with a proposed average span of 500 feet, the OPSB said.
As TransmissionHub reported, AEP Ohio Transco and OPSB staff in July filed the stipulation intended by the parties to resolve all matters pertinent to the project.
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.
In its Sept. 20 order, the OPSB said that it finds that the stipulation appears to be the product of serious bargaining among capable, knowledgeable parties, and that as a package, the stipulation benefits the public interest by resolving the issues raised in the matter without resulting in litigation.
“We find that, based on the evidence of record, the proposed transmission facility is needed to improve and maintain the quality of service and reliability which AEP Ohio Transco has identified as a critical need to reinforce its transmission system to maintain and improve the quality and reliability of electric service in the area,” the OPSB said.
Selection of the alternate route benefits the public interest as it requires less tree clearing and creates fewer impacts to residential lands as compared to the preferred route, the OPSB said.