Appalachian Power on Jan. 27 announced its preferred route for the first phase of the Abingdon and Washington County Improvements Project, which would benefit electric reliability for its customers in the Town of Abingdon, Va., and surrounding Washington County.
The company added in its statement that the approximately $50m project, which was announced last September, is divided into two phases: the South Abingdon Extension and the Washington County Improvements.
The proposed South Abingdon Extension, which directly addresses local reliability and the increasing power demand from a growing residential and business community, consists of building a substation and about four miles of 138-kV double circuit transmission line, as well as making upgrades at three existing substations to support local power distribution, the company said.
The route originates from an existing Appalachian Power transmission line on the west side of Abingdon, and from there, it runs south out of Abingdon across Interstate 81 into Washington County before turning east to an end point at the new substation location on Vances Mill Road, the company said.
Appalachian Power said it plans to file with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) an application for the South Abingdon Extension portion of the project by March. According to its website on the South Abingdon Extension, the company plans to begin construction by the end of this year.
A preferred route for the Washington County Improvements part of the project will not be finalized until PJM Interconnection releases its findings from studies it regularly performs related to winter electric reliability.
According to its website on the Washington County Improvements, Appalachian Power sought public input at an open house last September. From those comments, the company said that it has developed study segments for a proposed transmission line that would run from the new South Abingdon substation along Vances Mill Road, to its existing Arrowhead substation east of Jeb Stuart Highway. The company said that it plans to file for approval with the SCC by the end of the year.
The Abingdon and Washington County improvements are part of an ongoing $600m investment in announced upgrades of transmission infrastructure in southwestern Virginia, the company added.
“We’ve received positive input from the community since the open house in September,” Mary Begley, external affairs manager for Appalachian Power, said in the statement. “That information, along with our continuing studies, put us in a position to file what we think is the route that has a minimal effect on our neighbors. Moving ahead in two phases allows us to more quickly begin to generate local income from construction and realize long-term taxes at an earlier date.”
Appalachian Power is a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP).