Virginia DEQ issues advice for Dominion power plant, grid connection

Artist's rendering of Dominion Greensville combined cycle facility PEPWR

Dominion Virginia Power should 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 regarding its proposed Greensville County power station and 500-kV transmission interconnection facilities, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said in a Sept. 16 report to state regulators.

Agencies that participated in the review concerning the company’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the facilities include the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Department of Historic Resources, the DEQ told the State Corp. Commission.

As noted in the DEQ report, the Greensville County power plant is proposed for construction on an about 1,143-acre site, about 0.5 mile west of the intersection of State Route 620 (Radium Road) and State Route 605 (Rogers Road) in Greensville County, Va.

The power station will have three natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators, three heat recovery steam generators with supplemental firing capability, one steam turbine generator, and the associated transmission interconnection facilities and auxiliary equipment to operate the plant.

The DEQ added that the power station will have an approximate rating of 1,588 MW and, pending all regulatory approvals and permits, construction will begin in 2Q16, with operation forecast to begin in 4Q18. New 500-kV transmission facilities are proposed for construction in Greensville and Brunswick counties. The company, the DEQ added, proposes to build:

·      The 500-kV six breaker Rogers Road switching station

·      The Greensville–Rogers Road Line #596, an about 0.2-mile, 500-kV single circuit transmission line located entirely on the power station site to connect the plant with the Rogers Road switching station

·      Two new parallel 500-kV single circuit transmission lines, about 0.9-mile long, tapped from the 500-kV Line #585 Carson–Heritage at a point in Greensville County about five miles east the Heritage switching station. The lines will run in a new right of way (ROW) and loop in and out of the proposed Rogers Road station, thereby creating two new 500-kV circuits: Carson–Rogers Road Line #585 and Rogers Road–Heritage Line #503 (the “transmission project”)

The transmission lines will interconnect the new power station with the transmission system operated by PJM Interconnection, the DEQ said.

Discussing environmental impacts and mitigation, the DEQ said, for instance, that there is one perennial stream, the Greensville Creek, to be crossed by the proposed route for the transmission lines. After SCC approval of the project is received, Dominion Virginia Power will submit a joint permit application for approval to cross jurisdictional waterways and for any impacts to jurisdictional waters.

The DEQ recommended, for instance, that heavy equipment in temporarily impacts surface waters be placed on mats, geotextile fabric, or other suitable material, to minimize soil disturbance to the maximum extent practicable. Also, activities should be conducted in accordance with any time-of-year restriction(s) as recommended by the DCR, or the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).

Discussing air quality, the DEQ said that no significant impact to air quality is expected to result from the Greensville County power station based on air quality monitoring conducted. The new turbines will be installed with “best available control technology” for emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and greenhouse gases.

The DEQ added that it encourages all projects and facilities to implement pollution prevention principles, including the reduction, reuse and recycling of all solid wastes generated.

Of natural heritage resources, the DEQ said, for instance, that the proposed project area contains potential habitat for the state-listed Eastern Big-eared Bat and the federally listed Northern Long-eared bat. Due to the legal status of those bat species, the DCR recommends coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential impacts upon federally threatened northern long-eared bats associated with tree removal to ensure compliance with protected species legislation.

The DGIF also documents state threatened green floaters – a species of mussel – within a two-mile radius of the project area, the DEQ added, noting that the Meherrin River has been designated a threatened and endangered species water due to the presence of that species.

To minimize impacts to wildlife and natural resources, the DGIF recommended, for instance, that tree removing and ground clearing should adhere to a time-of-year restriction protective of resident and migratory songbird nesting from March 15 through Aug. 15 of any year, the DEQ said.

Among other things, the DEQ addressed historic and archaeological resources, noting, for instance, that the DHR concurred that all 15 resources identified within the study area of the power station are not eligible for Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR)/National Register of Historic Places listing, and no further architectural study is warranted at the power station site.

While the pre-application analysis for the 500-kV transmission interconnection identified no previously recorded VLR/NRHP-listed or eligible architectural resources or archaeological sites within the tiered study area, impacts from the transmission interconnection to unrecorded and/or unevaluated archaeological and historic architectural resources remain unassessed.

The DHR called for, for instance, an assessment of potential direct and indirect impacts to all VLR/NRHP-eligible/listed resources, including previously inaccessible properties.

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