Virginia agency to submit final review comments by Aug. 17 on proposed 230-kV rebuild project

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR) on June 20 told the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) that final review comments will be submitted to the SCC by Aug. 17 – barring an unforeseen suspension of the review for additional information – regarding Virginia Electric and Power’s (Dominion Energy Virginia) proposed Chesterfield-Lakeside Line #217 230-kV transmission line rebuild project.

The DEQ said that the information in the company’s application regarding the project “appears to be sufficient to allow a coordinated review of environmental impacts related to the project.”

As is customary in power project reviews – and in keeping with a DEQ-SCC memorandum of agreement regarding coordination of environmental reviews of power projects – the DEQ said that it requires 60 days, following receipt of sufficient copies of a complete application document, to initiate the coordinated review of the application and prepare its report to the SCC staff.

As noted in the company’s May 31 application for approval of the project filed with the SCC, the company proposes to rebuild, entirely within an existing right of way (ROW) or on company owned property, about 21.3 miles of existing 230-kV transmission line #217 from the company’s existing Chesterfield substation in Chesterfield County to the company’s existing Lakeside substation in Henrico County; to remove or replace certain structures on Line #287 located on or near Chesterfield Power Station property, two of which share a common structure with Line #217; and to perform minor work at the related substations.

The company noted that in 2016, violations of mandatory NERC reliability standards were identified on Line #217 beginning in 2020. The company said that its transmission facilities are not projected to meet NERC reliability standards unless system reinforcements are made to resolve the violations. Additionally, the structures on Chesterfield-Lakeside Line #217 are nearing their end of life, the company said, noting that it has replaced more than a quarter of the individual wood poles on Line #217.

As of January, an additional 12 maintenance requests for pole replacements due to structural deficiencies have been identified. The company added that it expects that the remaining wood poles will continue to deteriorate and that the number of required pole replacements will continue to increase with the current age of the structures exceeding the expected life.

The proposed route for the rebuild project consists of about 21.3 miles of existing varying-width transmission ROW easement and company owned property within Chesterfield and Henrico counties, the company said.

The route originates at the Chesterfield substation, located on company owned property at the intersection of Coxendale Road and Old Stage Road in Chesterfield – i.e., the Chesterfield Power Station, the company said. The route generally heads north from the Chesterfield substation, continues within existing ROW, and terminates at the Lakeside substation, located on company owned property on Hilliard Road in Henrico. The company added that because the existing ROW is adequate to build the proposed rebuild project, no new ROW is necessary.

The needed in-service date for the rebuild project is June 1, 2020, the company said, adding that the estimated conceptual cost of the rebuild project is about $31.6m (in 2018 dollars) – that is, $31m for transmission-related work, and $0.6m for substation-related work.

Among other things, the company said that given the availability of existing ROW and the statutory preference given to the use of existing ROWs, and because additional costs and environmental impacts would be associated with the acquisition and construction of new ROW, it did not consider any alternate routes requiring new ROW for the rebuild project. 

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 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.