Virginia SCC approves, with conditions, Dominion Energy Virginia’s rebuild project

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), in a Sept. 8 final order, authorized Virginia Electric and Power (Dominion Energy Virginia) to build and operate a rebuild project, subject to certain conditions.

As noted in the final order, the company in January filed with the SCC an application for approval and for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to rebuild, relocate, and replace a number of facilities and lines in and around the company’s existing Idylwood substation (also referred to as station) in Falls Church, Va. The project will be built entirely on property and existing rights of way (ROWs) already owned and maintained by the company, the SCC said.

As noted in the application, the company proposes to shift the existing station footprint within company owned property in order to rebuild and rearrange the Idylwood station from a straight bus arrangement to a breaker-and-a-half arrangement using Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) bus and breakers.

The SCC also said that the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in March filed its report, which contained such recommendations as that the company should reduce solid waste at the source, reuse it and recycle it to the maximum extent practicable, as applicable.

A hearing examiner in August entered his report, in which he found, for instance, that the rebuild project is justified by the public convenience and necessity.

Dominion, in its comments on that report, said that it supports all of the findings and recommendations contained in the report, but noted one correction – the substation layout would provide 15, and not 12 230-kV breakers in the breaker-and-a-half configuration.  

In its comments on the report, the Fairfax County (Va.) Board of Supervisors, said, for instance, that all components not needed for the project should be rejected by the SCC, or, alternatively, if the SCC accepts the hearing examiner’s recommendation that the 230-kV GIS breaker be approved, then that should be given no weight in future Dominion transmission line applications.

The SCC said that it finds that the company’s rebuild and reconfiguration of the Idylwood substation is needed because, as found by the hearing examiner, a NERC reliability criteria violation would occur in 2022 without the rebuild project. Furthermore, the SCC said that as found by the hearing examiner, the project will enable the company to maintain the overall long-term reliability of its transmission system, and will allow the company to maximize available land at the Idylwood substation to accommodate potential future transmission terminations and transformation.

The SCC said that it will approve, as part of the rebuild project, the additional GIS breaker needed for the Idylwood to Tysons 230-kV transmission line project, for which the company plans to file an application in 4Q17.

“[W]e find that it is prudent to include this component in the instant case for safety reasons during the construction process that would occur if the Idylwood to Tysons transmission line is approved and to limit outages to customers associated with that construction process,” the SCC said. “We find that the other proposed components, which the company asserts are needed for the Idylwood to Tysons transmission line – specifically a 75-foot backbone structure, two phase conductors, and shield wires – do not present the same safety and customer concerns as the GIS breaker and therefore are not approved as part of the rebuild project.”

The SCC also said that it finds that the “High Bus” should be approved.

The SCC noted that it finds that use of the existing route will minimize adverse impacts on scenic assets and historic districts in Virginia. However, the company made certain commitments in the record of the case during the course of the proceeding, including to discuss necessary corrective measures for the tree save area or any other protective measures for vegetation along the boundaries of the substation site.

The SCC added that it finds that the company is to comply with those commitments as a condition of its approval. In addition, the SCC said that as a condition of its approval, the company must comply with all of DEQ’s recommendations with certain exceptions. For instance, the SCC adopts the hearing examiner’s recommendation that the company is to consult with the Department of Conservation and Recreation for updates to the Biotics Data System only if the scope of the project involves material changes, or 12 months from the order’s date pass before construction begins on the project.

Among other things, the SCC said that the project must be built and in service by May 31, 2020; however, the company is granted leave to apply for an extension for good cause shown.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.