Virginia SCC authorizes, with conditions, Dominion Virginia Power to build 230-kV lines, switching stations

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), in a Feb. 11 final order, said that Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power is authorized to build and operate the proposed Remington CT–Warrenton 230-kV double-circuit transmission line, Vint Hill–Wheeler and Wheeler–Gainesville 230-kV transmission lines, 230-kV Vint Hill switching station, and 230-kV Wheeler switching station, subject to certain conditions.

As noted in a Feb. 11 SCC statement, the facilities are located in Fauquier and Prince William counties in Virginia.

As noted in the order, Dominion Virginia Power in March 2014 filed with the SCC an application and supporting documents for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the projects.

Subsequently, the company filed supplemental direct testimony and a supplemental appendix, which, among other things, provided a response to the suggestion of the SCC staff that the company consider a variation of Option C, the company’s preferred alternative, for the proposed Vint Hill–Wheeler and Wheeler–Loudoun 230-kV lines terminating at the existing Gainesville substation rather than the Loudoun substation. The company’s supplemental filings of November 2014 redefined the former Vint Hill–Wheeler and Wheeler–Loudoun 230-kV lines to the Vint Hill–Wheeler and Wheeler–Gainesville 230-kV lines, the SCC added.

The SCC said that it issued in May 2014 an order for notice and hearing in the proceeding that assigned the case to a hearing examiner and directed the company to publish notice of the proposed and alternative routes for the proposed projects, including Option C, the company’s preferred alternative, and Option B, the existing corridor rebuild option.

While Option A was an alternative described in the application, Dominion Virginia Power did not initially notice any proposed route for Option A because the company deemed that option not viable, the SCC said. Upon investigation, staff discovered that viable routes may exist for Option A and in March 2015, filed a motion requesting that the hearing examiner direct Dominion Virginia Power to publish alternative routes for Option A for the proposed projects. The SCC added that the hearing examiner directed that the company publish routes for Option A.

The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued two reports addressing environmental impacts in the case, and had several recommendations for the SCC’s consideration, including that the company conduct an on-site delineation of all wetlands and stream crossings within the project area with verification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The SCC also said that a November 2015 hearing examiner report made such findings as that the company’s proposed Option C, following Route C-1.1c, will reasonably minimize adverse impact on the scenic assets, historic districts and environment of the area concerned.

The SCC said it “is of the opinion and finds that the public convenience and necessity require the Remington CT–Warrenton 230 kV double circuit transmission line, Vint Hill–Wheeler and Wheeler–Gainesville 230 kV lines, 230 kV Vint Hill switching station, and 230 kV Wheeler switching station be constructed as proposed by Dominion Virginia Power along Route C-1.1c and that certificates of public convenience and necessity should be issued authorizing the projects.”

The SCC said that the need for a transmission solution is unchallenged. Noting that it agrees with the hearing examiner that Option B is not viable, the SCC said that the record provides significant evidence and analysis of the comparative benefits of the two viable alternatives, Option A and Option C.

“After careful consideration of both viable electrical options, we agree with the hearing examiner that the company’s proposed projects best address the concerns identified in this proceeding,” the SCC said.

After considering the options presented in the proceeding, the SCC said that it agrees with the hearing examiner that Route C-1.1c is preferable to the proposed alternatives and satisfies the applicable statutory requirements.

The SCC further noted that by assuring flexibility for future transmission projects, which the evidence supports is necessary to maintain the reliability of the local and system networks, the proposed projects (Option C) benefit economic development in the area.

In addition, the SCC said that it agrees with the hearing examiner that “following Route C-1.1c will reasonably minimize adverse impact on the scenic assets, historic resources and the environment of the area concerned.”

The company is to comply with the recommendations contained in the DEQ reports as conditions for approval of the proposed projects along Route C-1.1c, the SCC said.

Among other things, the SCC said that the approved transmission line and associated substation work is to be built and in service by July 1, 2017; however, the company is granted leave to apply for an extension for good cause shown.

Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D).

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3273 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 16 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.