Appalachian Power representatives announce the third phase of power grid upgrades in five Virginia counties. The Stuart Area Improvements Project provides a new electrical source to support current electrical needs in the region and increases electric reliability for customers. The project involves constructing several components in the next few years.
The first component of the Stuart Area Improvements Project, announced last October, is the Stuart – Willis Gap Transmission Line Project. The second component, announced in February, is the Stuart – Floyd Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
The third component of the Stuart Area Improvements Project, the Stuart – Bassett Transmission Line Project, located in Patrick and Henry counties, involves:
- Rebuilding approximately 22 miles of 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to 138 kV in or near the existing right-of-way
- Building approximately 3 miles of 138-kV transmission line in new right-of-way
- Upgrading the Fieldale Substation off Appalachian Drive in Henry County and the Philpott Dam Substation off Dam Spillway Road near the Philpott Dam in Henry County
- Building the proposed Mayo River Substation off Commerce Drive in Patrick County (announced as part of the Stuart – Willis Gap Transmission Line Project) and the proposed Stoneleigh Substation northwest of Fieldale in Henry County
- Retiring four substations
Installing modern equipment and upgrading facilities along the transmission line and at the substations reduces the need for frequent equipment maintenance and improves electric service reliability.
“Transmission system improvements like these are critical to ensure reliable power delivery to our customers in southwest Virginia,” said George Porter, Appalachian Power spokesperson. “This component increases electric capacity in the area, modernizes equipment to reduce service interruptions and enhances the line’s resiliency if outages do occur.”
Appalachian Power representatives invite community members and landowners in the project area to learn more, talk to project team members and provide input by attending one of the in-person open house events planned later this month. Area landowners can expect to receive a packet in the mail that includes additional project details and a comment card they can return with their feedback.
The planned in-person open houses for the Stuart – Bassett Transmission Line Project are scheduled for 5 – 7:30 p.m. The dates and locations for the events are:
Monday, March 28, Stuart Rotary Field, Rotary Memorial Building, 420 Woodland Drive in Stuart
Tuesday, March 29, Bassett Train Station Event Center, 3536 Fairystone Park Highway in Bassett
Appalachian Power is committed to keeping you informed about this project while also keeping our customers and employees safe and healthy during COVID-19. At this time, project team members plan to wear face coverings at the in-person open houses and encourage those who plan to attend to also wear face coverings. Some open house venues may require face coverings as well. The project team continues to monitor the situation and plans to adjust recommendations in accordance with federal, state and local COVID-19 guidance. For the safety of the community and the project team, those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are feeling unwell, are asked to please consider visiting the virtual open house on the project website at AppalachianPower.com/Stuart to learn more about the project and provide feedback.
Company representatives plan to upgrade the majority of the transmission line in or near the existing right-of-way, which may require new or updated property easements. Company representatives plan to build approximately 3 miles of new 138-kV transmission line and are evaluating study segments to determine the best possible route.
Work for the third component begins at the proposed Mayo River Substation (announced as part of the Stuart – Willis Gap Transmission Line Project) off Commerce Drive in Patrick County and travels northeast 10 miles to the proposed Patrick Henry Substation at the Patrick and Henry County line. The project continues 9 miles northeast towards the existing Fieldale and proposed Stoneleigh substations before traveling northwest 6 miles to the proposed Smith River and existing Philpott Dam substations.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission requires Appalachian Power representatives to file an application for project approval. The project team plans to file the application in fall 2022. If the project receives approval, crews are expected to begin construction on the Stuart – Bassett Transmission Line Project in fall 2026 and conclude by fall 2028.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 16,700 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 223,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.5 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,900 megawatts of renewable energy.