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Meadow Brook to Loudon 500 kV Line, Virginia

STATUS:  In progress with opposition

TYPE: Transmission

OPPOSITION:  Environmental groups, local residents

PROSPECTS:  Likely

BACKGROUND:  The Meadow Brook to Loudon 500 kV Line is a proposed 65-mile, 500-kilovolt (kV) overhead transmission line to be constructed by Dominion Virginia Power on a route adjacent to or within an existing transmission line right-of-way through Warren, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Fauquier, Prince William and Loudoun counties in Virginia.  The line is Dominion’s contribution to the three-state TrAIL Project, a joint venture of Allegheny Energy and Dominion.  The Meadow Brook to Loudon 500 kV Line is projected to cost $243 million to construct.

Dominion filed an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) on April 19, 2007 for approval and certification of the line, which it received in a unanimous decision on October 7, 2008.  Residents along the proposed route opposed it, forcing Dominion to re-route the project and instead use an existing transmission corridor for which it already possessed rights-of-way.  Opponents cited (and continue to cite) natural resource damages and lack of need for new transmission as concerns.

Sierra Club, Piedmont Environmental Council and others challenged the project’s permit applications before the SCC.  The argued that the project is unnecessary, expensive and would ultimately leave the grid more vulnerable, and that simple alternatives that have significantly less impact are available to the power companies to meet the electricity needs of Northern Virginia.

Dominion plans to have the line in service by June 1, 2011, one month prior to the July 1, 2011 deadline set by the SCC.

SOURCES:  Dominion: http://www.dom.com/about/electric-transmission/meadow-brook/index.jsp;
The Rappahannock Voice: http://rappvoice.com/?p=338;
Prince William Conservation Alliance: http://www.pwconserve.org/issues/landuseplanning/powerline/index.htm;
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter: http://vasierraclub.org/2009/12/no-coal-by-wire-transmission-oppose-trailco/;
Piedmont Environmental Council: http://www.pecva.org/anx/index.cfm/1,215,0,44,html/Opposition-to-Coal-by-Wire-Transmission     

Last Updated:  December 9, 2010