The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on May 14 said that it has identified a preferred route for a new approximately $7.1m, 5.4-mile, 161-kV transmission line that is designed to help meet growing power demand and increase power reliability in a fast-growing area in Knox and Loudon counties in Tennessee.
TVA said that the line, which would serve a new substation planned by Lenoir City Utilities Board, would use primarily single, steel-pole structures centered on new 100-foot-wide right of way (ROW). The line would begin at a point between TVA’s Watt Road-Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Fort Loudoun-Watt Road 161-kV double-circuit transmission lines, TVA said, adding that the line would extend northeast to the new Hardin Valley 161-kV station on Marietta Church Road.
The selected route is expected to have the least impact on the area, based on public input from a virtual open house, as well as additional evaluation of other factors, including social, environmental, and engineering impacts, TVA said, noting that a National Environmental Policy Act review is also pending.
TVA said that it will meet with property owners along the proposed ROW to obtain easements for construction, operation, and maintenance of the line; property owners would still own the property and be compensated for the easements at fair market value.
As noted on the project webpage, the Lenoir City Utilities Board currently provides distribution service in and around the Hardin Valley, Tenn., area with the Solway 161-kV station, which is soon projected to exceed its guaranteed capacity. In addition, TVA said, distribution lines supplying the Hardin Valley area are becoming overloaded due to steady growth in the area. TVA further noted that the nearby Watt Road and Karns 161-kV stations are heavily loaded and do not have significant ties to the area to shift load from the Solway station.
The Hardin Valley area is the fastest growing area in Knox County, with a population growth rate averaging about 3.9% from 1990 to 2017, TVA said, adding that construction of new homes in the area has increased significantly since 2012, with an average of 220 new dwellings annually from 2012 to 2017, with that number continuing to rise over the last three years.
TVA said that building the new Hardin Valley 161-kV station would resolve capacity issues at the Solway station by allowing the load to be transferred from that station to the Hardin Valley station. In addition, TVA said, the new Hardin Valley station would provide enhanced reliability due to a reduced amount of distribution line exposure.
TVA noted in its statement that it is expected to begin surveys in winter 2021-2022 and start acquiring easements in summer 2022, with construction scheduled to begin in winter 2022-2023, and be completed in summer 2023.