The Ohio Power Siting Board, in a Feb. 21 order, said that it adopts a stipulation and recommendation between AEP Ohio Transmission Company, Inc., (AEP Ohio Transco) and regulatory staff, and that it directs that a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need be issued to the company for the Glencoe-Speidel 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
As noted in the order, AEP Ohio Transco in June 2018 – as supplemented later that month, as well as in July 2018 – filed its application in the proceeding, stating that that the proposed project involves rebuilding and upgrading about 12.7 miles of an existing transmission line that traverses Smith, Goshen, and Warren townships in Belmont County, Ohio. The existing 69-kV line, built in the 1940s, will be replaced with 138-kV lines and structures that are somewhat taller and of sturdier construction. The order also noted that the upgraded line will allow the lines to carry more current, and that the project will help ensure the continued reliability of the transmission system.
Further describing the project, the OPSB noted that the existing Glencoe-Speidel line provides service to one AEP Ohio distribution station and two South Central Co-op stations. The line was built using Brady towers, a now obsolete two-legged tower design that fails modern day National Electric Safety Code standards, the OPSB said, adding that the line today exists as a mixture of wood pole and steel lattice structures.
The rebuilt single-circuit line will serve the area with 138-kV transmission line service to support future load growth in the area, the OPSB said, noting that a nearby project – the Glencoe-West Bellaire 138-kV circuit – will facilitate the installation of a 138-69-kV transformer source at the Glencoe station in 2019, and that the Glencoe-Speidel project will provide the capacity for a second 138-kV source.
The new transformer located at the Glencoe station will be a major reliability improvement for the area by off-loading several 69-kV circuits and 138-69-kV transformers that are presently forecast to be overloaded in coming years, the OPSB noted.
The Glencoe-Speidel project will improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, improve resiliency of the system, and speed recovery of local service when outages do occur, the OPSB said.
AEP Ohio Transco proposed a preferred route and an alternate route for OPSB consideration, the OPSB said, noting that the preferred route, for instance, follows the existing Glencoe-Speidel line its entire length from the Glencoe station to the Speidel station. The preferred route is offset from the existing centerline by about 35 feet for its entire length except for five sections where it will be built on centerline to avoid encroachments and meet engineering requirements.
Overall, the OPSB added, the preferred route offers the best balance of meeting engineering requirements, impact minimization, and cost effectiveness. The OPSB said that the preferred route also avoids potential schedule and reliability difficulties associated with widespread outages that would be required for construction on the existing centerline.
The conditions agreed to by the stipulating parties include that the facility is to be installed on the company’s preferred route utilizing equipment, construction practices, and mitigation measures as presented in the application filed in June 2018, and further clarified by recommendations in a staff report.
Another condition calls for the certificate to become invalid if AEP Ohio Transco has not commenced a continuous course of construction of the proposed facility within five years of the date of journalization of the certificate.
Among other things, the OPSB also said that it finds “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.”