The Bland Area Improvements Project will upgrade about 20 miles of transmission line, adding 5 miles of new transmission line and building a substation to support the local distribution of power in Bland County, Va.
Most of the work will be done in Bland and Wythe counties in Virginia. About 1 mile of the existing line extends into Mercer County, W.Va. The project essentially runs from the South Bluefield Substation to the Progress Park Substation near Wytheville, Va.
The about $80 million investment will increase reliability for local customers by replacing or updating aging infrastructure.
“Our goal is to balance the energy needs of the region while minimizing the effects on landowners and the environment,” said Mary Begley, external affairs manager for Appalachian Power. “By establishing an early line of communication and working closely with the community, the information and feedback the company received allowed us to submit an application to the SCC that is the best possible route for the project.”
Most of the project will be done within existing right-of-way, but company representatives will begin contacting affected landowners to acquire any necessary easements. Construction is expected to start later this year once additional federal, state and local permits are received.
Appalachian Power has 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, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers 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 operates 223,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning about 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S.