AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff on Oct. 15 filed with the OPSB a stipulation in which they recommended that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the Pine Ridge Switch-Heppner 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
The stipulation is intended by the parties to resolve all matters pertinent to the proposed project.
As noted in the filing, the company plans to rebuild about 3.60 miles of the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV transmission line in Coal and Liberty townships in Jackson County, Ohio, to 138-kV standards. Once completed, the new line would replace the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV transmission 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, the filing added, noting that the new 138-kV line would operate at 69 kV until 138-kV standards would be needed to serve customer load.
The goal of the project is to modernize and improve the reliability of the company’s transmission system in Ross and Jackson counties, the filing said, adding that the project would enhance service for customers, decrease power interruptions, and speed recovery of service when outages occur.
Among other things, the filing noted that adequate data on the proposed project has been provided to the OPSB and OPSB staff to determine that the preferred route contained in the application, if conditioned in the certificate as recommended by the parties, represents the minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the available technology and nature, as well as economics of various alternatives.
The recommended conditions include that the facility be installed on the company’s preferred route, utilizing the equipment, construction practices, and mitigation measures as presented in the March 29 application, and further clarified by recommendations in a staff report.
The filing also noted that another recommended condition calls for the company to conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities.
One of the recommended conditions also calls for the certificate 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, another recommended 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 allow a different course of action, the filing said.