ROANOKE – Appalachian Power Co. (APCo) filed a request with Virginia State Corporation Commission Thurday to build an electric transmission project in the Wythe County area. The company introduced the Wythe Area Improvements Project in May. Following extensive public comment, APCo developed a preferred and a viable alternative route for the new line. The filing begins a state-level review.
“We appreciate the involvement of individuals, community organizations and governmental organizations that participated in this process to this point,” said David Wright, project manager. “We believe we’ve identified an electric solution that addresses many of the concerns that we learned about during the public input process.”
The project is proposed to address voltage problems that could develop by 2015 that were identified by PJM, an independent regional transmission planning organization.
To address the problem, Appalachian proposes construction of a 138 kilovolt (kV) transmission line connecting Jacksons Ferry Substation, an existing substation at Progress Park industrial park just east of Wytheville, and the existing Wythe Substation in Wytheville.
The company’s preferred route for the project is approximately 17.5 miles long. It originates at Jacksons Ferry Substation, near New River Trail State Park, crosses the New River and continues northward, generally paralleling I-77. The circuit will cross near Fort Chiswell before turning west towards the existing Progress Park Substation, with one circuit entering that substation, and the other circuit continuing to the southwest to terminate at Wythe Substation.
The company’s recommended preferred route has the least disturbance overall to people and the environment. For much of the route, it parallels existing infrastructure such as power lines, a gas pipeline and Interstate 77.
If approved along the preferred route, the project would require construction of approximately 100 transmission structures built on a 100-foot-wide right of way. The company will work with the property owners to define the best location for the power line and to resolve any relocation or acquisition issues.
Although the Appalachian only proposes construction of one route, the company also identified its second most favorable route and is submitting it to the SCC for consideration along with the preferred route. The viable alternative is approximately 20 miles long. It exits Jacksons Ferry Substation and crosses the New River on the same path as the preferred. After crossing the New River, the route turns west, crossing I-77, U.S. Route 52 and State Route 94 before turning to the northwest to parallel an existing transmission line running towards Wytheville. Just south of Wytheville, one circuit extends northeast to Progress Park east of Wytheville, and one circuit continues north into the Wythe Substation in Wytheville.
Additional information about the project, including maps, photos, fact sheets and the company’s SCC filing, is available at www.appalachianpower.com/wytheareaimprovements. Public participation opportunities continue in the Virginia SCC process.
APCo has about 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.