- Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 14:30
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Virginia Dominion Power’s plan to bring a 230,000-volt transmission source and substation to the Dahlgren area of King George County is nearing its final milestone as a public hearing for the project has been set for 10 a.m. June 12 in Richmond. After that date, if no hurdles or roadblocks crop up, the Commonwealth’s chief electric power supplier will begin negotiations with county property owners to acquire rights-of-way for 119-foot steel poles that will carry the high voltage lines.
According to Dominion Power, the Dahlgren area needs the increased power load because of demands that the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren and its tenant activities are putting on the power company. That demand, coupled with the civilian growth the area has experienced over the past decade with the opening of a new Walmart Supercenter and the Dahlgren campus of the University of Mary Washington, has caused the company to plan to bring in the extra power lines and substation equipment.
“We have experienced a 55 percent growth in that area,” Carla Picard, spokesperson for Dominion, said during an update briefing before the King George Board of Supervisors last week.
She said that King George’s energy needs are likely to continue to grow as economic development in the Dahlgren area is expected. Picard also added that the energy challenge will primarily be posed by the county’s top economic producer, NSF Dahlgren, as it figures to remain a critical cog in the nation’s Navy’s technical research and development engine.
Because of an uncertain future when “guns or butter” needs are considered along with the rising national debt ceiling, Supervisor Joe Grzeika said that more electrical power would help insulate the base against looming Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) threats which might become a post-election year reality. He also advised that county administrator Travis Quesenberry attend the June 12 public hearing in Richmond.
The proposed main distribution line will basically parallel U.S. 301 to the base where a substation will be built, according to Picard. The recommended steel poles, called “Corten” poles, are single poles with a dark brown finish to blend in with the local flora environment.
When final approval is won, Dominion plans to begin working with affected property owners during the fall and winter of this year. Construction will begin in 2013 with project completion scheduled for May of 2014.