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Project FAQs

It’s a 7.7-mile power line to bring electricity to the Peninsula, across the James River from Surry Power Station. It will ensure sufficient electricity and reliable power from cleaner energy sources. This will reduce carbon and other emissions, improve air quality and maintain reliable energy for the nearly half million people who live and work on the Peninsula.

It will bring cleaner energy and cleaner air to the Peninsula. Dominion Energy will be able to retire two coal units with this new transmission line in place. This will reduce carbon and other emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons each year and reliably power the Peninsula using cleaner energy.

The line is about keeping the lights on for the nearly half a million people living and working on the Peninsula, especially on the hottest and coldest days of the year. Without the line, the Peninsula will face power shortages and the potential for rolling blackouts once the Yorktown coal units are closed permanently. Homes and businesses are all interconnected through the electric transmission grid, so hospitals, businesses, emergency facilities, schools and homes rely on Dominion Energy’s transmission infrastructure to deliver reliable energy.

Today the Peninsula is served by four existing 230,000 volt, or 230kV, lines that travel in two electric transmission corridors. One runs across the James River near the Route 17 bridge to Newport News and the other corridor extends from Charles City County south to James City County near Interstate 64.

The new line will connect the Peninsula to a more robust, higher voltage 500kV network from the Surry Switching Station to the proposed Skiffes Creek Station, thereby linking the Peninsula to reliable power generation sources located across Virginia.

Dozens of experts considered numerous alternatives to bring clean power to the Peninsula—electrical engineers, environmental specialists, the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Virginia Supreme Court and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They looked at solar, wind, and natural gas options, underground gas lines, and even retooling aging coal units at Yorktown Power Station.

The facts consistently proved these concepts wouldn’t work. They were either too tough on the environment, unable to deliver power up to federal reliability standards, or they would cost too much and take too long to meet power needs once the coal units at Yorktown Power Station are closed. The experts agree that the Surry-Skiffes Creek Transmission Line is the best option to power the Peninsula, with the least environmental impact and lowest costs to customers.

This alternative was thoroughly researched and considered, but it has several shortcomings. It would cause greater impact to the river bottom and aquatic life. Reliability of underground lines with such a high capacity has yet to be proven. And, the cost to customers could be exorbitant.

The Skiffes Creek Transmission Line is just over seven miles, as compared to the Chickahominy River line which is more than 30 miles longer. This means dramatically less clearing of forested wetlands, keeping the environment as unharmed as possible. And that’s about $55 million less expensive than the Chickahominy alternative, which helps keep energy rates reasonable.

The alternatives put forth by Tabors had many issues:

None of the alternatives proposed by National Trust for Historic Preservation’s consultants, Tabors, resolved all the identified NERC Criteria violations.

None of Tabors alternatives can be constructed in timely manner, and thus needlessly jeopardize reliable service to the hundreds of thousands of people, institutions, and companies in the NHRLA.

Finally, none of the Tabors alternatives are cost efficient, and all cost substantially more than the Project. The alternatives do not meet the Project purpose and need, and otherwise are not reasonable or practicable alternatives.

The project is closer to construction than ever, now that the Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a provisional permit to begin construction. But that permit still requires further approvals from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and James City County, both of which will hold key meetings in June and July. Dominion Energy is eager to begin construction as soon as possible, to ensure that Peninsula residents and businesses have access to cleaner, more reliable energy.

PJM, the grid operator, requested an extension from the Department of Energy (DOE) to run the coal units on an interim basis. The DOE granted an order to operate Yorktown Units 1 and 2 as needed to avoid reliability issues on the Virginia Peninsula through September 2017. While this is not a long-term solution to the reliability issues, Dominion Energy supports PJM's action and the DOE decision, and will work to ensure the units' availability as required.

The risk is greatest for the nearly half a million people living in James City County, York County, Williamsburg, Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton.

Dominion Energy shares your concern. While we are doing everything we can to avoid power outages, we need your help. Click here to Take Action and support the Surry-Skiffes Creek Transmission Line.