To ensure that residents in the Middle Peninsula area have continued reliable electric service, Dominion Virginia Power has completed a new 230,000-volt (230 kV) transmission line to serve Gloucester and interconnect the Middle Peninsula area.
The new transmission line extends from Dominion's Yorktown Power Station under the York River for approximately 3.5 miles to Gaines Point, where Dominion has constructed an underground-to-overhead transition station. From there, the line continues overhead along existing right-of-way for approximately 3.9 miles to the Hayes Substation.
Summer 2012 — All overhead transmission line work has been completed.
Summer/Fall 2012 —Construction of Gaines Point Transition Station completed.
December 2012 — Energized new transmission line.
The Gloucester area was previously served by a single, long transmission line (115 kV) that extended southward from our Harmony Village Substation. This new line provides a second feed for the Hayes Substation (redundant source), and creates a network loop of the Dominion facilities in the area, for greater system reliability.
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is responsible for determining the need, route and environmental impact of transmission lines at 138kV and above in Virginia. The company filed an SCC application for the Hayes - Yorktown 230 kV Transmission Line on July 1, 2009.
In September 2009, the SCC issued an Order for Notice and Hearing prescribing notice of the application, establishing the procedural schedule for the case and appointing a Hearing Examiner to conduct all further proceedings on the matter on behalf of the SCC and issue a report. The Hearing Examiner for the case then issued a Ruling that extended some of the procedural dates initially established by the Order for Notice and Hearing.
A public hearing on the application was held on February 9, 2010, in the Commission's Courtroom in Richmond, Virginia, to receive the testimony of public witnesses and the evidence provided by Dominion, any Respondents, and the Commission Staff.
In May, the Hearing Examiner filed her Report recommending that the SCC grant Dominion a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Hayes-Yorktown project.
On June 18, 2010, the State Corporation Commission issued its Final Order, granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project and requiring construction to be completed within 24 months from the date of the Order. On page 7 of the Final Order, the Commission agrees with the Hearing Examiner in finding that "the record establishes that the proposed transmission line is necessary to assure that the Company can continue to provide reliable service to the Middle Peninsula area" and that "the proposed project will have minimal adverse impact on scenic assets, historic districts, and the environment."
Additional information and documents pertaining to this case may be found by referencing Case No. PUE-2009-00049, after following the instructions available at the Commission's website: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case.
Contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Hayes-Yorktown project.
No, the proposed transmission line has been constructed within an existing right-of-way. Dominion obtained the necessary easements and acquired property for these new facilities in the late 1980s.
Yes, for the overhead portion of the line, the existing 100’ wide right-of-way needed to be cleared before construction began and some danger trees were removed. Danger trees are trees outside the right-of-way that are tall enough to potentially impact the transmission line. Trees are cut to be no more than 3 inches above ground level. Debris that is adjacent to homes was disposed of by chipping or removal. In other areas, debris was mulched or chipped as practicable. Clearing was accomplished by hand in wetland areas and within 100 feet of streams. Care was taken not to leave debris in streams or wetland areas. Matting was used for heavy equipment in these areas. Erosion control devices were used on an ongoing basis during all clearing activities.
Yes. Our easement agreements allow us access to private roads of property owners crossed by the right of way. The company, at its expense, repairs any private roads damaged by Dominion or its contractors during construction of the line or during future maintenance. In addition, we reimburse property owners for crop damage, and repair or replace fences or gates if we should damage them.
This new transmission line and related improvements at the Hayes substation ensure that residents in the Middle Peninsula area have continued reliable electric service. This new line provides a second feed for the Hayes Substation (redundant source), and creates a network loop of the Dominion facilities in the area, for greater system reliability. As a resident, this means fewer outages, and shorter durations when the lights do go out.
Overhead (OH) lines have proven to be the best choice for providing safe, reliable and economical power to our customers. Dominion operates a high-voltage network of approximately 6,100 miles of transmission lines. Of this total, less than 1% (52 miles) is comprised of underground (UG) cables. At 230 kV, there are approximately 2400 miles of OH lines and 34 miles of UG cables. These installations are primarily for large water crossings, dense metro areas, or other areas that are not suitable for overhead lines.
Underground transmission lines are not as desirable from an operational point of view. The duration of outages for underground transmission lines is significantly greater compared to overhead lines due to the complexities of locating failures and facilitating repairs. (We are installing extra cables under the York River to help address this issue.) Additionally, labor and material costs for the installation of a 230 kV underground transmission line would be 8 to 10 times more expensive than an overhead option, and these costs are passed on to our customers.
The extensive wetlands through this area present another challenge. Underground installation would be more environmentally invasive than placing overhead structures.
As part of the SCC application, Dominion completed an evaluation of potential environmental, cultural, and historical impacts of the project. Dominion worked with many local and state agencies to complete these evaluations and mitigate any impacts. The company also submitted annual Erosion and Sedimentation Control Specifications for the construction and maintenance of transmission lines to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for review and approval. This project was submitted for approval prior to construction. Our contractors received copies of the E&S specifications and any additional permit conditions prior to construction and were directed to meet any requirements. The right-of-way was rehabilitated when construction was completed.
Dominion is sensitive to public concern about possible health effects from exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF). Dominion includes data on the levels of both electric and magnetic fields produced by proposed facilities in all applications submitted with the SCC. We continually monitor EMF research and speak to our customers and employees regularly to share the latest information available.
The Virginia SCC, which regulates the construction and operation of electric transmission lines of 138kV and above, considers EMF in every application. Hearing Examiner’s remarks from recent proceedings are below.
The Virginia Department of Health in its final report evaluating EMF research concluded:
"Based on the review and analysis of the exhaustive literature review and other research projects completed under the EMF-RAPID program, the Virginia Department of Health is of the opinion that there is no conclusive and convincing evidence that exposure to extremely low frequency EMF emanated from nearby high voltage transmission lines is causally associated with an increased incidence of cancer or other detrimental health effects in humans. Even if it is assumed that there is an increased risk of cancer as implied in some epidemiologic studies, the empirical relative risk appears to be fairly small in magnitude and the observed association appears to be tenuous. The studies published in the literature lack clear demonstration of a cause and effect relationship as well as a definitive dose-response gradient."
More information is available in the SCC application filed by the company on July 1, 2009 for the Hayes - Yorktown 230 kV Transmission Line. The SCC also maintains copies of documents filed in the case. They are available online at www.scc.virginia.gov/case. Refer to Case No. PUE-2009-00049.