Appalachian Power plans to start construction April 2016 on a project to help with the demand for electricity in southwest Virginia. The Duffield Area Improvements Project is an estimated $14 million investment in transmission upgrades to better serve customers in Scott County, Va.
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 about 15 miles of transmission line from 34.5 kV to 69 kV, build about two 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 southwestern Virginia.