The Virginia State Corporation Commission, in a Feb. 27 final order, said that Virginia Electric and Power (Dominion) is authorized to build and operate certain rebuild projects, subject to conditions.
As noted in the order, Dominion in June 2018 filed with the commission the application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build and operate the electric transmission facilities in King and Queen, King William, and New Kent counties in Virginia.
The company initially proposed to rebuild, entirely within an existing right of way (ROW) or on company owned property, four separate segments of its existing Lanexa-Northern Neck Line #224 230-kV line. The commission added in its order that the company proposed to:
- Remove and replace nine structures and foundations spanning the Pamunkey River and crossing adjacent tidal marshlands (the Pamunkey River Rebuild)
- Remove and replace seven structures and foundations spanning the Mattaponi River and crossing adjacent tidal marshlands (the Mattaponi River Rebuild)
- Remove and replace two double-circuit “COR-TEN” lattice structures and two adjacent wood H-frame structures, which are currently carrying a single transmission circuit, and foundations on the existing 230-kV Line #224 crossing I-64 in New Kent County west of the intersection of I-64 and Route 3 (the I-64 Rebuild)
- Remove and replace one double-circuit “COR-TEN” lattice structure, which is currently carrying one transmission circuit for Line #224 and another for Line #2016, and foundation, with two double deadend 2-pole structures and foundations (the Diascund Rebuild)
According to Dominion, the rebuild projects are necessary to maintain the structural integrity and reliability of its transmission system in compliance with mandatory NERC reliability standards. The commission also said that according to the company, the rebuild projects will replace aging infrastructure that is at the end of its service life.
Dominion has noted that the needed in-service date for the rebuild projects is May 2021, the commission said, noting that the estimated cost of the rebuild projects is about $30.7m, which includes an estimated $1m cost for substation- and distribution-related work. The estimated cost for each segment of the rebuild projects is about:
- $13.9m for the Pamunkey River Rebuild, all of which is for transmission-related work
- $12.5m for the Mattaponi River Rebuild, which includes about $11.5m for transmission-related work and about $1m for substation- and distribution-related work
- $2.3m for the I-64 Rebuild, all of which is for transmission-related work
- $2m for the Diascund Rebuild, all of which is for transmission-related work
The commission also noted that the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in a September 2018 report, made recommendations regarding the projects, including for the company to conduct an on-site delineation of wetlands and streams within the rebuild projects area with verification by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, using accepted methods and procedures, and follow DEQ’s recommendations to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and streams, including the use of dielectric fluid that does not contain polychlorinated biphenyls.
The company in November 2018 said that it was withdrawing request for the approval of two of the rebuild projects – the I-64 Rebuild and the Diascund Rebuild. The commission added that the remaining two components of the rebuild projects – the Pamunkey River Rebuild and the Mattaponi River Rebuild – are the remaining sections of the rebuild projects now before the commission.
A hearing examiner, in a January report, found, for instance, that the structures should be chemically dulled to mitigate the visual impacts of the rebuild projects.
“We find that the public convenience and necessity requires the company to rebuild two separate segments of its existing Lanexa-Northern Neck Line #224 230 kV line, located in New Kent, King William, and King and Queen counties, with the use of chemically dulled, galvanized steel lattice towers as recommended by the hearing examiner,” the commission said. “We agree with the hearing examiner that the proposed rebuild projects are necessary so that the company can replace deteriorating infrastructure. Additionally, the rebuild projects are necessary for the company to comply with mandatory” NERC reliability standards.
The commission said that it does not find, however, that the public convenience and necessity requires approval of the “Idle Conductor Facilities,” noting that while the company indicates that the purpose of those facilities is to provide a future additional 230-kv source to the Northern Neck substation to resolve an anticipated future NERC N-1-1 reliability violation for load loss, it is unable to project when load growth in the area will reach the point necessitating a new circuit.
Also, the company did not establish that a second 230-kV circuit between the Northern Neck and Lanexa substations, using the idle conductor facilities, would be the best solution to resolve a potential NERC N-1-1 violation, the commission said.
Among other things, the commission said that it finds that there are no adverse environmental impacts that would prevent the construction or operation of the rebuild projects. As a condition of its approval, the commission said that Dominion is to comply with all of the recommendations provided in the DEQ report, with one exception; namely, the commission said that it adopts the hearing examiner’s recommendation that the company is to consult with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for updates to the Biotics Data System only if there are material changes to the rebuild projects or 12 months from the date of the final order pass before the rebuild projects commence construction.
The rebuild projects must be built and in service by May 2021; however, the company is granted leave to apply for an extension for good cause shown, the commission said.