Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) staff, in a March 8 report, recommended that the OPSB approve AEP Ohio Transmission Company’s (AEP Ohio Transco) application involving proposed adjustments to the company’s approved Yager-Desert Road 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project, as long as the company continues to adhere to the conditions listed in a May 2017 order that approved the project (Case No. 16-0535-EL-BTX).
Proposed adjustments are proffered following final detailed engineering, land surveying, and property owner discussions regarding the approved route, staff said, noting that the proposed adjustments do not involve any new property owners and the type of transmission equipment – related to transmission voltage, structure, and conductor types – would not change.
The company states that the economic impact would not change as a result of the adjustments, staff said, adding that the need for the facility and grid impacts associated with the facility remain the same as was approved in Case No. 16-0535-EL-BTX.
The amendment filing can be broken down into three categories of requested revisions to the approved route: engineering adjustments; a shift within the existing right of way (ROW); and rerouting outside of the existing ROW. Construction has not begun on the project.
Staff also noted that there are four proposed engineering adjustments, totaling 0.5 mile. According to the company, those adjustments are the result of actual field conditions and final engineering of structure locations and conductor clearances, as well as road ROW final surveys. Staff added that the structure location shifts range from eight to 32 feet from the previously approved centerline as such:
- Adjustment 1 involves a shift of structure 9 and is the result of final engineering of the structure as an angle structure between structures 8 and 10. The company states that there are no new environmental impacts nor are there any additional or adjoining tracts of land affected for the adjustment
- Adjustment 2 involves a shift of structures 12 through 17 and is the result of final engineering of structures along the approved route. The structure shifts range from four to 19 feet away from the approved centerline. The company states that there are no new environmental impacts nor are there any additional or adjoining tracts of land affected for the adjustment
- Adjustment 3 involves a shift of structures 28 through 30 and is the result of final engineering of structure 28 to increase the distance between the pole and an existing driveway. The shift of structure 28 would also affect the location of structures 29 and 30 along that portion of the route. The shifts range from seven to 32 feet away from the approved centerline for about 900 feet. The company states that there are no new environmental impacts, nor are there any additional or adjoining tracts of land affected for the adjustment
- Adjustment 4 involves a shift from the approved centerline between structures 46 and 47 due to landowner preference. The shift results in new structure locations about 75 feet away from the existing approved route. The company states that there are no new environmental impacts, nor are there any additional or adjoining tracts of land affected for the adjustment. An additional easement needed for that adjustment has been secured
Staff said that there is one instance of a shift of the approved route between structures 36 and 45, back to the centerline of the existing transmission line. The company states that that shift is the result of landowner preference. Staff added that the approved route was to be offset from the existing centerline by 25 feet in that portion of the rebuild project, and that since that shift would place the route back on centerline of the existing line, no new property owners nor easements are necessary. The company states that that shift would result in less tree clearing, as the ROW would not be expanded.
Staff also discussed rerouting outside of the existing ROW, with Reroute 1, for instance, involving placing the new line between 30 to 150 feet away from the approved route between structures 30 and 35. Reroute 2 involves a new route between structures 62 and 72, and was necessitated to avoid a newly identified structure and steep terrain, staff said.
Staff said that the proposed adjustments are not expected to significantly alter existing land uses or to increase the estimated capital costs for the project. With the adjustments, the total number of residences located within 100 feet of the route would be reduced by one. The alignment sections have been studied for the presence of archaeological and historic impacts and no significant adverse impacts on cultural resources are expected, staff added.
Among other things, staff said that the proposed adjustments would not result in increased impacts to listed wildlife species, and that adherence to the conditions of the original certificate would minimize impacts to listed species.