Virginia commission okays Appalachian Power’s transmission line rebuild

The Virginia State Corporation Commission on June 7 approved a September 2015 application from the Appalachian Power Co. (APCo) unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate electric transmission facilities in Bland and Wythe counties.

APCo proposed to construct, own, operate, and maintain the Bland Area Improvements 138-kV Transmission Line Project. The company states that the project generally consists of rebuilding the Virginia portion of the existing South Bluefield-Bland-Wythe 69 kV line to 138 kV. APCo estimates the project will cost approximately $68 million and that the company will need approximately 30 months after entry of the commission’s final order for engineering, design, right-of-way (ROW) acquisition, permitting, material procurement and construction to place the project in service. APCo proposed an in-service date of Dec. 1, 2018, and requested expedited consideration to the extent permitted by law.

The company states that the project will:

  • provide a comprehensive solution for the reliability concerns identified in the affected load area in Bland and Tazewell counties, Virginia, and Mercer County, West Virginia;
  • accomplish the replacement of a 90-year old 69 kV line that has reached the end of its useful life; and
  • satisfy APCo’s commitment in its 2003 Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Forest Service to remove the existing 69 kV line crossing Rich Mountain.

Said the commission’s June 7 final approval: “We agree with the Hearing Examiner that the Project is needed to enhance system reliability and operational flexibility for areas within Bland, Tazewell, and Wythe counties in Virginia. In addition, the Project replaces a 69 kV transmission line that has reached the end of its service life and fulfills the Company’s obligations under the USFS MOU. Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, the Company has sufficiently demonstrated the public need for the Project to be constructed at 138 kV.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.