The company identified the need to improve area electric reliability during the winter of 2014. Extreme weather conditions could create stress on the existing system and lead to power outages.
“Appalachian Power will upgrade the transmission system to help ensure reliable electric service to our customers,” said Mary Begley, external affairs manager for the company. “Upgrading the equipment to the most up-to-date standards will improve our restoration times during outages and provide the area with a transmission system that can enhance economic development.”
The project will upgrade approximately 15 miles of transmission line from 34.5 kilovolt (kV) to 69 kV, build about 2 miles of new 138 kV transmission line, construct a new substation and retire and remove an existing substation. All construction will take place in Scott County near Jefferson National Forest.
When completed, the work will add about $60,000 in taxes annually to Scott County.
Construction is expected to start this spring. All work associated with the first phase of construction will be done within existing right-of-way. The second phase of construction includes the building of the new transmission line and substation and will take place on easements and property previously acquired by Appalachian Power. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“As with any Appalachian Power project, minimizing impacts on people and the environment will be a top priority,” said Begley. “We will work closely with property owners to answer any of their questions.”
The Duffield Area Improvements project is part of the $645 million investment in announced system upgrades of transmission infrastructure in Southwest Virginia. Additional information about the projects can be found at www.AEPTransmission.com/Virginia.
Appalachian Power has one 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, delivering electricity to nearly 5.4 million customers through 223,000 miles of distribution lines in 11 states.
AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States.