Virginia regulatory staff ‘does not oppose’ approval for APCo’s estimated $147.7m project

As noted in the filing, the proposed in-service date for the project is Dec. 1, 2025

Virginia State Corporation Commission staff, in a June 1 report, told the commission that it does not oppose Appalachian Power Company’s (APCo) request that the commission issue the certificates of public convenience and necessity (CPCNs) necessary for a project that includes building a new 11.1-mile, 138-kV transmission line.

As noted in the filing, APCo in January filed with the commission an application for CPCNs to build and operate electric transmission facilities in the City of Lynchburg and Albemarle, Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell, and Nelson counties in Virginia.

APCo proposes to:

  • Build the new 11.1-mile, 138-kV line from the company’s Joshua Falls substation to its Riverville substation (the Joshua Falls-Riverville 138-kV transmission line)
  • Build a new 6.3-mile, 138-kV transmission line from the company’s Riverville substation to Central Virginia Electric Cooperative’s Gladstone substation (the Gladstone-Riverville 138-kV transmission line)
  • Build two new 138-kV substations and associated transmission line extensions (the James River 138-kV substation and the Soapstone 138-kV substation)
  • Expand and/or improve the company’s Riverville, Monroe, Amherst, Boxwood, Scottsville, Clifford, and Joshua Falls substations
  • Rebuild about 12.2 miles of the Amherst-Reusens 69-kV transmission line
  • Install and/or upgrade other related transmission line, substation, telecommunication, and distribution facilities

Staff added that according to APCo, the project is necessary to maintain the structural integrity and reliability of its transmission system in compliance with mandatory NERC Reliability Standards. The company also states that the project would accommodate future growth in Amherst, Nelson, and Albemarle counties, mitigate thermal and voltage reliability criteria violations, and replace aging infrastructure that is at the end of its useful life, staff said.

The project consists of multiple components located at various places across a large geographical footprint, staff said, adding that for discussion within its report, the components have been organized into four main groups, with a fifth catch-all group used for discussing associated project improvements, such as the work proposed to be done within existing substations. The four main components of the project are:

  • Component 1: Joshua Falls-Riverville-Gladstone 138-kV Transmission Lines
  • Component 2: James River 138-kV Substation
  • Component 3: Soapstone 138-kV Substation
  • Component 4: Amherst-Reusens 69-kV Transmission Line Rebuild

Staff added that as part of the project, the company would also retire and remove about 38 miles of the Clifford-Scottsville 46-kV transmission line and about seven miles of the Amherst-Clifford 69-kV transmission line.

Staff noted that it has verified the results of the company’s power flow studies presented in the application and confirmed that several NERC reliability criteria violations would occur under various contingency scenarios; staff added that those violations do not occur with the project modeled as being in service.

Staff noted that PJM Interconnection stakeholders have assigned the project two project numbers: project number b3208 to the baseline work project number s2000.1 to the supplemental work.

Noting that the company has chosen “Alternative Routes D and E” as the preferred route for the Joshua-Riverville-Gladstone 138-kV transmission lines, staff said that it does not oppose the 138-kV proposed route selected by the company. APCo chose those alternative routes because they have fewer residential impacts, minimize impacts on the James River, have less potential for environmental impacts by minimizing forest clearing, and have less potential for construction and engineering challenges, staff said.

Among other things, staff said that it does not oppose the 69-kV proposed route selected by the company. That route, which is about 12.2 miles long, avoids the Reusens Hydroelectric Dam and has fewer impacts on residences located north of the dam, staff said.

As noted in the filing, the proposed in-service date for the approximately $147.7m project is Dec. 1, 2025.

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About Corina Rivera-Linares 3263 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.