Va. hearing examiner recommends conditional approval of Dominion’s 230-kV switching station project

A hearing examiner with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), in a Sept. 16 report filed with the SCC, said that Virginia Electric and Power’s (Dominion Virginia Power) Elklick switching station and double circuit 230-kV tap lines project is needed to meet customer demand for electricity and to provide reliable electric transmission service to Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative’s (NOVEC) Pleasant Valley substation.

As noted in the report, Dominion Virginia Power in May filed with the SCC an application for approval and for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build and operate electric transmission lines and facilities in Fairfax County, Va.

The company proposed to build about 670 feet of new double circuit 230-kV transmission lines, four structures to support those lines, and the new 230-kV Elklick switching station.

As proposed, the report added, the company would cut the existing 230-kV Bull Run–Loudon Line #295, and extend each end for about 670 feet to terminate at the proposed Elklick station, creating a revised 230-kV Bull Run–Elklick Line #295 and a new 230-kV Loudoun–Elklick Line #2173.

At the Elklick station, two backbone structures, four 230-kV breakers, and associated equipment would be installed to interconnect NOVEC’s existing Pleasant Valley delivery point substation with the transmission grid. The report also noted that the project would accommodate an expansion of NOVEC’s Pleasant Valley substation to meet customer demand and is needed to comply with mandatory NERC reliability standards.

The project would be built using about 170 feet of existing company right of way (ROW) and about 500 feet of new ROW that the company would obtain from the underlying property owners, which are the Fairfax County Park Authority, NOVEC, and NOVEC’s customer, Dominion Cove Point. The proposed Elklick station would be built adjacent to NOVEC’s Pleasant Valley substation, the report added.

The project’s proposed in-service date is Dec. 31, 2017, and its total cost is about $8.1m, of which about $2.1m is for transmission line construction, and about $6m is for construction of the Elklick station.

According to Dominion Virginia Power, the need for the new facilities is being driven by a NOVEC delivery point change request. NOVEC notified Dominion Virginia Power that the loading on its Pleasant Valley substation is expected to exceed 100 MW. To maintain transmission system reliability, Dominion Virginia Power must build a double circuit 230-kV line and switching station to serve the Pleasant Valley substation, the report added.

To accommodate the proposed facilities, NOVEC would remove its existing 230-kV radial tap line connecting Dominion Virginia Power’s 230-kV Bull Run–Loudoun Line #295 to the Pleasant Valley substation, which consists of two spans and one single circuit three-pole structure. The report also noted that the two existing Dominion 230-kV line switch structures at the Pleasant Valley substation would be removed.

The report said that SCC staff determined that Dominion Virginia Power has reasonably demonstrated the need to build the project, and that the project uses existing ROW for part of its route, minimizing the impact of the proposed transmission line on existing residences, scenic assets, historic districts and the environment.

The project supports economic development by allowing increased operations at Dominion Cove Point’s natural gas compressor station and the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce, and other residential, commercial or industrial development served by NOVEC’s Pleasant Valley substation.

Among other things, the report said that the SCC should condition approval of the company’s application on the company’s compliance with the recommendations submitted by the state Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Conservation and Recreation – Division of Natural Heritage and Department of Aviation, the requirement to obtain all necessary environmental permits and approvals needed to build and operate the project, and coordinate with federal and state agencies, as appropriate.

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

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.