Virginia DEQ files recommendations regarding Dominion Virginia Energy rebuild project

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) recommendations regarding Virginia Electric and Power’s (Dominion Virginia Energy) application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for a rebuild project.

As noted by the DEQ in its comments dated Aug. 14, Dominion Virginia Energy submitted an application to the SCC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to rebuild, entirely within an existing right of way (ROW) on Dominion-owned property, about 8.5 miles of existing 115-kV transmission lines, Possum Point-Smoketown Line #18 and Possum Point-Smoketown Line #145 in Prince William County, Va.

The lines are located between the existing 115-kV switch yard at Dominion’s Possum Point power station site and the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) Smoketown Delivery Point (DP). The lines would be designed to operate at 230 kV on all but the first 0.7-mile segment originating from the 115-kV switch yard at the Possum Point power station site, which would be rebuilt to 115-kV design in order to continue operating the line at 115 kV at present, the DEQ added.

While the rebuild project proposes to build the lines to be capable of operating at 230 kV, operation of the lines would continue at 115 kV until such time as needed to serve the Northern Virginia Load Area.

Dominion proposes to remove 125 of the 130 existing structures that support Lines #18 and #145 between the Possum Point Station and NOVEC’s Smoketown DP, the DEQ added. The replacement structures include one double circuit galvanized H-frame structure, 44 double circuit single galvanized steel pole structures, seven single circuit galvanized poles, two galvanized H-frame structures, six galvanized switch structures, and 28 single circuit weathering steel direct embed structures, the DEQ said.

In addition to the structure replacements, Dominion proposes to replace the existing three-phase single 636 ACSR (24/7) and twin bundled three-phase 721 ACAR conductors with new single 636 ACSR (24/7) conductor for the first approximately 0.7-mile segment of both circuits built to operate at 115-kV, and twin-bundled 795 ACSR (26/7) for about 7.7 miles of double circuit three-phase transmission lines, built for 230-kV operation, but operating at 115 kV, the DEQ said.

The DEQ said that its Office of Wetlands and Stream Protection (OWSP) recommends, for instance, that prior to beginning project work, all wetlands and streams within the project corridor should be delineated and verified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation found that the proposed project would not affect any documented state-listed plants or insects, while the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) recommended consideration of certain measures for the protection of aquatic resources, including adhering to a time-of-year restriction from Feb. 15 through June 30, for instream work in the Potomac River and Powell Creek or their tributaries within one river mile upstream of its confluence with those waters, whether resulting in temporary or permanent impacts.

The DEQ added that the DGIF offered certain general recommendations to minimize the adverse impacts of linear utility project development on wildlife resources, including avoiding and minimizing impacts to undisturbed forest, wetlands, and streams to the fullest extent practicable.

In addition, the DGIF recommended coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential impacts upon the federally listed threatened Northern long-eared bat associated with tree removal.

The DEQ also noted that while the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) did not respond to the request for comments on the SCC application, Dominion should continue to coordinate the project with the DHR to ensure historic resources are not adversely affected by the proposal.

Among other things, the DEQ said that the Prince William County staff reviewed the proposed project for conformance to the county’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The county recommends a Phase I archaeological survey for those areas not previously surveyed and, if warranted, Phase II evaluations and Phase III/Data Recovery, the DEQ said, adding that the county archaeologist requests the opportunity to review and comment on all archaeology scopes of work, for instance.

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.