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April 3, 2013 · By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Unidentified big user drives Warrenton powerline plans

2
Photos/Lawrence Emerson
The “Community Advisory Group” convenes to review Dominion Power’s proposals.
Roy Beckner and Beverley Pullen listen as utility representatives explain the need.
“We’re calling this a transparent, open process, because that’s what it is,” Dominion’s Carla Picard says.
This is not something where we just check the box for the State Corporation Commission.
— Kevin Curtis of Dominion Virginia Power
Project website
Dominion has created a website for the project.

The site will include all of the "Community Advisory Committee" work and research over the next eight months in a “transparent” process, company representatives promise.

https://www.dom.com/about/electric-transmission/warrenton/index.jsp


Timeline


• April-October: Committee meetings and "open house" events.

• Late 2013: Dominion submits application to State Corporation Commission.

• May 2017: Construction finished.
An unidentified, major electrical customer will accelerate the need for upgraded transmission lines around Warrenton, Dominion Virginia Power representatives said Wednesday.

Dominion’s previous briefings about the proposed “reliability project” made no mention of “a large block load addition,” with electricity demand that could equal 6,000 homes.

Representatives of Virginia’s largest utility company shared that new information during the first meeting of a “Community Advisory Group,” appointed to review the project and offer alternatives to new or upgraded transmission lines.

“Who is it?” Piedmont Environmental Council President Chris Miller, an observer, asked about the huge power consumer.

“We’re not at liberty to say,” responded Dominion Director of Transmission Projects Bob McGuire.

But, the big consumer radically would accelerate the need for improvements to the power grid that feeds the Warrenton substation off Meetze Road, just east of town, according to company representatives.

Dominion plans for normal electricity demand growth of 1.8 to 2 percent annually in the area.

Mention of the big user prompted a flurry of questions, which yielded few answers, and lots of head scratching among advisory group members and observers in the John Barton Payne Community Hall.

Unable to identify an existing private-sector user of so much electricity, several speculated that the super-secretive Warrenton Training Center might have that sort of future demand. The federal intelligence services compound on View Tree Mountain, along Bear Wallow Road just west of Warrenton, includes extensive underground facilities.

Outside the meeting, PEC’s Mr. Miller questioned the veracity of Dominion’s claim that a huge electricity user will help drive demand for the project.

The utility should have to identify such a significant driver of the proposal, he said. And, if the federal government needs the upgrade, it should pay to bury the transmission lines, Mr. Miller suggested.

PEC, which monitors and often challenges major transmission line construction in the region, has hired an engineer to analyze the proposals.

Dominion has identified two options:

• A $75-million project, including a new transmission line, running northeast of town, from the Warrenton substation to the Wheeler substation near Vint Hill in Prince William County. It would include upgrading the line from Wheeler to Gainesville.

• A $95-million project upgrading the existing transmission line from Remington to Warrenton and lines in Loudoun and Prince William. It would raise the height of existing lines by 25 feet.

The advisory group will evaluate those options and seek alternatives.

Dominion has used the community-involvement process for projects near Charlottesville and Dahlgren in King George County.

The need for redundancy — particularly as the electrical grid ages and shows signs of vulnerability to failure — prompted them to plan the upgrades, Dominion officials said.

Additionally, despite conservation, modern households demand greater electricity with the proliferation of devices, they said.

In addition to its customers, Dominion sells power to NOVEC and Rappahannock Electrical Cooperative, both of which have thousands of Fauquier customers.

The advisory group includes representatives from Fauquier and Prince William counties. It will meet regularly in coming months.

Dominion, which will need state and federal approval for construction, also will conduct a series of town hall meetings this year for additional public comment.

“This group . . . is one piece of a broad, outreach program that we’re going to use in the next six to nine months to get feedback from the community at large,” Dominion Electrical Transmission Project Manager Carla Picard said to open Wednesday’s 3-1/2-hour meeting in Warrenton.

Dominion also will reach out to property owners, homeowners’ associations and other groups, Ms. Picard said.

“We’re calling this a transparent, open process, because that’s what it is,” she added.

Said Dominion’s Kevin Curtis: “This is not something where we just check the box for the State Corporation Commission.”

About a dozen advisory group members took part in the first session, including these from Fauquier:

• Jamie Gorman of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce.

• Greg Livesay of Fauquier County Public Schools.

• Lory Payne of the Southern Fauquier Historical Society.

• Beverly Pullen of the Fauquier County economic development office.

• Sue Scheer of Citizens for Fauquier County.

• Tracy Turman of Fauquier Health.

• Wendy Wheatcraft, Fauquier County’s preservation planner.

The advisory committee will meet again at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the John Barton Payne Community Hall. The meetings are open to the public.
Member comments
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farmbum · April 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm
“We’re calling this a transparent, open process, because that’s what it is,” Dominion’s Carla Picard says.

“Who is it?” Piedmont Environmental Council President Chris Miller, an observer, asked about the huge power consumer.

“We’re not at liberty to say,” responded Dominion Director of Transmission Projects Bob McGuire.

Hah!

It's a done deal, why waste time. Get ready for more upgrades in the transit community of Fauquier. Serving everyones needs but our own.
fauquierflash · April 3, 2013 at 10:15 pm
I am always impressed by the "Diversity" of folks in these meetings.

Thanks
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