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November 25, 2014 Published in Business

PJM Revises Load Forecast Downward; Work Group Recommends Route Options For Underground Transmission Line

By Carla Branch

Dominion Virginia Power 230kV proposed route mapJust as the Dominion Underground Transmission Line and Substation Work Group prepares a list of the least objectionable routes for a proposed underground transmission line through Alexandria, PJM, the manager of the power grid for the mid-Atlantic region, has revised the load forecast for the next several years downward.

Dominion Virginia Power proposed the 230KV line and discussed the need for such a project at an Alexandria City Council meeting last June. At that time, Dominion’s preferred route seemed to be down Route 1 from the Glebe Road substation in Arlington to the substation at NRG’s Potomac River Generating Station property in North Old Town. Because of concerns about disrupting traffic on the busy Route 1 corridor and other issues, Council instructed City Manager Rashad Young to establish a work group comprised of stakeholders to meet with Dominion and make recommendations to Council as to the least objectionable routes through the City. The group has held several meetings since September and, at the Nov. 20, meeting, identified four of Dominion’s proposed routes as the least objectionable. Dominion is considering nine routes; eight underground and one under the Potomac River. Although many members of the work group have expressed skepticism about the actual need for the line, they identified the following four options as the least objectionable:

  1. CSX & CSX – DRCA Alternate Routes
  1. GW Parkway & Metro/GW Parkway
  1. Four Mile Run/Potomac River & Four Mile Run/Potomac River/GW Parkway Alternate
  1. Potomac Ave

Citing that the CSX and DRCA alternate routes are least impactful to the City and residents, the group heavily favored this option above the other three.  Although the group categorized its choices to the above four, Dominion is not compelled to select any of these alignments in its State Corporation Commission (SCC) application.  DVP will evaluate the nine routes it originally proposed before making application.

PJM Revises Load Forecast Downward

Dominion was originally scheduled to submit a request to construct the underground transmission line through Alexandria to the Virginia State Corporation Commission in late November. The company delayed its application by two months to  await PJM’s December forecast for future load growth. These numbers will determine need (which the city has questioned) for the proposed transmission line.

According to a Nov. 24, memo from Timothy Banner, a member of the City’s Division of Environmental Quality staff: City staff participated in the PJM Load Analysis Sub-Committee Meeting on Nov. 24 via teleconference call.The meeting was called to discuss PJM’s short-term measure to address the over-forecast issue that could be implemented for the 2015 load forecast prior to more comprehensive development leading into the 2016 load forecast. Overall, compared to the 2014 load forecast, the 2015 load forecast for the year 2018 with the new short-term measure (i.e., introduction of a binary variable) has been reduced by 2.6%. This forecast is for the entire PJM region, which includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia and parts of Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina.

Staff is of the opinion that the more relevant information for the City and the Working Group would be the forecast for the Dominion Virginia Power service area, especially Northern Virginia region. The subcommittee will present recommendations to PJM’s planning committee on Dec. 4, with a full forecast slated to be released in late December.

Alexandria City staff are preparing a memorandum to City Council with the work group’s recommendations. The work group is tentatively scheduled to meet on Dec. 11, presumably to discuss and finalize that memorandum. Council has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed transmission line for Jan. 13, 2015. Dominion is tentatively scheduled to present its application to the SCC in late January.

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