Dominion Virginia Power seeks to rebuild 500-kV line to address NERC violations

Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power is looking to rebuild a 500-kV line to address NERC reliability criteria violations.

The company filed an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission on May 2, seeking approval for its proposed 500-kV Lexington-Cloverdale line project.

Power flow studies done by Dominion Virginia Power and PJM Interconnection project that by spring 2014, during periods of light system load, the existing line will violate mandatory NERC reliability standards. Furthermore, load flow models show that in the spring 2014, the company’s transmission facilities will not meet federally mandated NERC reliability standards if the line is not rebuilt.

“The failure to address these projected NERC violations by the spring 2014 could lead to service interruptions and potentially damage the company’s electrical facilities in this area, significantly impacting electric service to this region,” the company added. “The need for the proposed transmission facilities is being driven by load growth in the region, which has experienced significant load growth over the past 10 years.”

From 2002 to 2011, peak electrical demand grew from 17,084 MW to 20,061 MW, a 17.43% increase, representing an actual average annual growth rate of 1.62%, and continued growth is expected to occur, the company said, adding that the projected annual growth rate is about 1.9%, the highest projected growth rate in PJM.

The Lexington-Cloverdale line runs about 7.4 miles from the company’s existing Lexington substation to Appalachian Power Company’s Cloverdale substation in Botetourt County, according to the application. The company also proposes to build and install associated facilities at its Lexington substation. The route for the rebuild project is located entirely within existing right-of-way, the company added.

Appalachian Power is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP).

The in-service date for the proposed rebuilt line is May 2014, with about 12 months for construction and a period of 12 months for engineering, material procurement and construction permitting. The estimated cost is about $17m, which includes about $14.1m for the transmission line construction and about $2.9m for the estimated cost of modifications at the Lexington substation, the company added.

The rebuild project provides the benefit of replacing aging transmission facilities that are reaching the end of their useful lives. The line, which was built in the early 1960s and completed in 1966 as part of Dominion Virginia Power’s 500-kV “original loop,” is part of the first 500-kV transmission system built in the country, the company added.

Among other things, the company said the deterioration of the tower structures has become so extensive that the existing steel tower structures must be replaced as soon as possible.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3160 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.