Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed legislation that improves the approval process for 138-kV transmission lines.
According to the state’s legislative information system, HB 587 and SB 418 eliminate the requirement that a 138-kV electric transmission line obtain State Corporation Commission approval if a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) is not required and depending on findings that the line is needed and that its corridor or route will reasonably minimize adverse impact on the scenic assets, historic districts and environment of the area concerned.
Furthermore, the measures provide that a CPCN is not required for such a line if the public utility has obtained approval under requirements regarding certain local planning commission approval and applicable local zoning ordinances by the locality or localities in which the line will be located.
According to the governor’s office, McDonnell signed HB 587 on March 1 and SB 418 on March 20 – both bills go into effect on July 1.
In a March 10 statement, McDonnell said, “We have advanced initiatives to achieve our goal of having Virginia be the energy capital of the East Coast, by making it easier to develop and provide energy to our growing businesses and all residents of the commonwealth.”
A spokesperson for American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) told TransmissionHub March 21 the company is supportive of the bills’ purpose to “speed up the process of getting the lines approved, mainly for economic development purposes.”
Other energy measures approved by the General Assembly, according to McDonnell’s statement, include HB 232 and SB 492, which encourage development of renewable thermal energy and includes landfill gas in the definition of renewable energy; HB 1016 and SB 485, which create the alternative fuel vehicle conversion fund to assist in the conversion of the state fleet; and HB 1102 and SB 413, which encourage research and development of renewable energy technologies.