Virginia regulators authorize, subject to conditions, Dominion’s underground line

The Virginia State Corporation Commission, in a Sept. 5 final order, authorized Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia to build and operate the Idylwood-Tysons 230-kV, single-circuit transmission line, as proposed in its application and amended in a stipulation, subject to certain conditions.

As noted in the order, Dominion last November filed with the commission an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the proposed underground line. Specifically, the commission said, the company proposes to:

  • Build a new single-circuit, 230-kV, underground transmission line, designated 230-kV Idylwood-Tysons Line #2175, to run about 4.3 miles from the company’s existing Idylwood substation to the company’s existing Tysons substation, with the project located entirely in Fairfax County, Va.
  • Rebuild the Tysons substation using Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) equipment to accommodate a six-breaker, 230-kV ring bus within the existing property boundaries
  • Install new Gas Insulated Line terminal equipment at the Idylwood substation for the new Line #2175 installation
  • Perform relay work at the Reston substation

Dominion and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Fairfax) – referred to as the stipulating parties – on June 8 filed a joint motion for leave to present stipulation and recommendation, attaching a proposed stipulation between the two parties that stated, for instance, that the company and Fairfax agree that the project is needed, that the company has met the statutory requirements for approval; and that “Underground Alternative 05” is the optimal route for the project.

The order also said that a senior hearing examiner, in a report entered in late July, found, for instance, that the project is needed to resolve a potential criteria violation of the mandatory NERC Reliability Standards for the 230-kV lines feeding the Tysons Loop and to maintain reliable service to the Tysons Loop area.

The commission said in the order that it finds that the company’s project is needed to resolve a potential criteria violation of the mandatory NERC Reliability Standards for the 230-kV lines feeding the Tysons Loop and to maintain reliable service to the Tysons Loop area.

The commission also found that Underground Alternative 05 is the optimal route for the project, which should be built accordingly. The order added that Underground Alternative 05:

  • Is the shortest route
  • Crosses the least amount of private land
  • Requires no additional clearing of forested lands
  • Has low impact on the W&OD Park trail and vehicular traffic
  • Has no residences within 60 feet
  • Is the least costly option of all underground and overhead alternatives

The order noted that the project, using Underground Alternative 05, will primarily be located within existing ROW or road ROW belonging to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Due to the fact that the project will be built primarily within existing ROW in conjunction with road ROW, the commission finds that adverse impacts on scenic assets and historic districts in Virginia will be minimized, the order said.

The commission also finds that there are no adverse environmental impacts that would prevent the construction or operation of the project, the order noted, adding that as a condition of the commission’s approval, Dominion must comply with all of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) recommendations, as provided in a DEQ report, with certain exceptions.

The DEQ, in its Jan. 25 report filed with the commission, recommended, for instance, that the company conduct an on-site delineation of all wetlands and stream crossings within the project area with verification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, using accepted methods and procedures.

The order also noted that the commission adopts the hearing examiner’s recommendation that the company is to consult with DCR for updates to the Biotics Data System only if the scope of the project involves material changes or 12 months from the date of the order pass before the rebuild project begins construction.

The order noted that the company, in its application, requested approval to replace lattice tower 2097/177 located just south of the Idylwood substation property.

The order added that the commission agrees “with the hearing examiner that the record reflects the negative visual impact of the tower, as well as the fact that the tower is 59 years old with a projected useful life of 40 to 60 years. We therefore find that tower 2097/177 should be replaced.”

Among other things, the order said that the project must be built and in service by June 30, 2022, but the company is granted leave to apply for an extension for good cause shown.

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.