AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff on Dec. 4 filed with the OPSB a stipulation that is intended to resolve all matters pertinent to the company’s proposed Glencoe-Speidel 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
The parties said that they recommend that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the project, subject to certain conditions.
As noted in the filing, the company plans to rebuild 12.7 miles of the existing Glencoe-Speidel 69-kV electric transmission line as an upgraded 138-kV line in Belmont County, Ohio. The proposed project involves the installation of a new 138-kV overhead electric transmission line between the Glencoe and Speidel substations. The filing added that the company has proposed a 100-foot right of way (ROW) for the line, which would incorporate steel poles for support. Near the Village of Bethesda, where residential structures have been built near the 69-kV line over the years, the company is proposing a 50-foot ROW adjacent to those residences.
The filing also noted that the existing 69-kV line has been in service since the 1940s and has deteriorated to a level that requires rebuilding. Rebuilding the line to a 138-kV line would eliminate overloading risks and enhance reliability for area customers, the filing said, adding that rebuilding the line would also resolve issues associated with the deterioration of the line and bring the line up to current design standards.
The proposed project would improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, improve resiliency of the system, and speed recovery of local service when outages do occur, the filing noted.
Adequate data on the proposed project has been provided to the OPSB and staff to determine that the preferred route contained in the application, as filed by the company in June, if conditioned in the certificate as recommended by the parties, represents the minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the available technology, as well as nature and economics of the various alternatives, the filing said.
As TransmissionHub reported, in a report filed last month with the OPSB, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff said that the company’s preferred route is about 12.7 miles long and predominantly parallels either the northern or southern edge of the existing Glencoe-Speidel 69-kV line ROW. The preferred route would predominantly be offset by about 35 feet to 50 feet from the centerline of the existing 69-kV line in order to allow the existing line to remain in service during construction, staff added.
The Glencoe Station project, where the proposed line originates, was approved in November 2017 by the OPSB and is under construction.
The preferred route exits the Glencoe substation to the south and follows the southern edge of the existing ROW for 1.7 miles to the west, staff added, noting that the route then crosses to the northern edge of ROW for 1.1 miles before crossing back to the southern edge of the ROW for 4.5 miles, crossing Centerville Warnock Road and Chapel Hill Road to a point just east of Watertower Road.
Due to multiple residences in close proximity, the preferred route utilizes the existing centerline for 0.1 mile to avoid encroachments as it crosses Watertower Road before resuming an offset position to the southern edge of the existing ROW just west of Watertower Road.
The route continues on the south edge of the existing ROW for 1.1 mile crossing Hunter Belmont Road. A small substation is avoided by crossing to the northern edge of the existing ROW for 0.1 mile. Staff added that the route returns to the southern edge of the ROW for 0.4 mile before utilizing the existing centerline for 0.9 mile through the Village of Bethesda to avoid encroachments.
The route continues on the northern edge of the existing ROW for 0.6 mile, then utilizes the existing centerline for 0.2 mile before returning to the northern edge of the ROW for 1.8 miles. The final 0.1 mile of the route is on the existing centerline into Speidel station, staff added.
The Dec. 4 filing noted that the signatory parties agree that the record in the case contains sufficient probative evidence for the OPSB to determine, as conclusions of law, that, for instance, the project, if conditioned in the certificate as recommended by the parties, will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.
The 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 June application, and further clarified by recommendations in the staff’s report.
The filing added that another recommendation 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.
Also, the filing said that a recommendation calls for the company to – prior to the start of construction – finalize coordination of the assessment of potential effects of the proposed facility on cultural resources, if any, with staff and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
Among other things, the filing said that another recommendation 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.