The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), in a Jan. 17 final order, authorized FirstEnergy’s (NYSE:FE) Potomac Edison to build and operate the proposed rebuild of the Double Toll Gate-Riverton 138-kV Transmission Line, subject to certain conditions.
“The commission finds that the company’s proposed rebuild project is needed,” the SCC said. “No party has challenged the need for the proposed rebuild project. The record reflects that completing the rebuild project would replace aging infrastructure that is nearing the end of its expected service life and maintain the reliability of the grid.”
As noted in the order, Potomac Edison last July filed with the SCC an application for approval and certification for the company’s proposal to rebuild, entirely within its existing right of way (ROW), about 6.3 miles of its existing 138-kV Double Toll Gate-Riverton line in Clarke and Warren Counties in Virginia.
The SCC also said that the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) last September filed with the SCC a report providing recommendations, including that the company conduct an on-site delineation of wetlands and streams within the project area with verification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and limit the use of pesticides and herbicides to the extent practicable.
SCC staff last November filed a report with the SCC, concluding that the company has reasonably demonstrated the need for the proposed rebuild project and therefore does not oppose the issuing of the requested certificate, the SCC said.
A report by a hearing examiner was entered on Jan. 5, noting that according to the hearing examiner, there is a need for the proposed rebuild project; the project is justified by the public convenience and necessity; a certificate of public convenience and necessity should be issued for the project; the project is necessary to support ongoing economic development in the local area; the project would maximize the use of existing ROW; and the project would reasonably minimize adverse impacts on the environment of the area concerned.
The SCC also said that it finds that the proposed rebuild project will promote economic development in the state by maintaining the operations reliability of the line and, in turn, continuing to ensure the delivery of sufficient supplies of electrical power.
The SCC further noted that it finds that the use of the existing route will minimize adverse impacts on scenic assets and historic districts in the state.
The SCC also said that it finds that there are no adverse environmental impacts that would prevent the construction or operation of the proposed rebuild project, and that, as a condition to its approval, Potomac Edison must comply with all of the DEQ’s recommendations, as provided in the DEQ report.
Among other things, the SCC said that the project must be built and in service by June 1; the company, however, is granted leave to apply for an extension for good cause shown.