The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), in an Oct. 4 final order, granted Virginia Electric and Power’s d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power’s application for approval and a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build and operate the Elklick Project, which consists of building and operating in Fairfax County, Va., about 670 feet of new double-circuit 230-kV electric transmission lines, four structures to support the new lines, and the new 230-kV Elklick switching station.
As noted in the order, the project is needed because of a significant expected increase to the load that Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) serves from its Pleasant Valley Delivery Point substation, which is interconnected to Dominion’s transmission system. An existing natural gas compressor station that NOVEC serves has received approval to expand operations, the SCC said, adding that NOVEC formally notified Dominion of projected load levels at the Pleasant Valley substation that would require transmission system upgrades under facility interconnection requirements maintained by Dominion to comply with mandatory NERC standards.
A wetland impact consultation provided by the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) contained certain recommendations, including that heavy equipment in temporarily impacted surface waters be placed on mats, geotextile fabric, or other suitable material, to minimize soil disturbance to the maximum extent practicable.
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation, for instance, in August submitted comments on the project recommending that the company continue to coordinate with it and the Fairfax County Park Authority concerning potential impacts to the Elklick Woodlands Natural Area Preserve and associated natural heritage resources; coordinate with the state Department of Game & Inland Fisheries to ensure compliance with the Virginia Endangered Species Act; and resubmit project information and map an update of natural heritage information if the project scope changes and/or six months pass before it is used.
SCC staff, in a report filed in August, concluded that the company had reasonably demonstrated the need to build the project and that the project appears to minimize impact on existing residences, scenic assets, historic districts and the environment.
An SCC hearing examiner last month filed a report, recommending that the SCC issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project, subject to certain conditions.
The SCC added that it agrees with the hearing examiner that the proposed route will reasonably minimize adverse impacts on the scenic assets and historic resources. The SCC further noted that it finds that there are no adverse environmental impacts that would prevent the construction or operation of the proposed project.
Among other things, the SCC said that the project must be built and in service by Dec. 31, 2017, but 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).