Proposed Peninsula transmission line passes another hurdle

It’s the latest step in the power line struggle on the Peninsula

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A proposed high energy transmission line over the James River is one step closer to reality.

Across the James River, the Surry Power Plant pumps out electricity for Hampton Roads. That’s power that Dominion Energy wants to use on the Peninsula.

“The river crossing part of the line is coming from Surry to James City County, near Skiffe’s Creek. If approved, fingers crossed,” Dominion Energy spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley-Harris said.

This week, that plan moved one step closer as the Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved a permit for the project.

“It got passed because it shows this has the least impact to the environment, specifically the river bottom,” Billingsley-Harris said.

Billingsley Harris said the company needs the high-powered line to provide adequate energy to the rest of the Peninsula. This year, the power company will close the Yorktown coal power plant.

“Without that [plant], the reliability is severely at risk on the Peninsula,” Billingsley-Harris said. “So, we know that we have to inject another source of power in order to keep the lights on the Peninsula.”

But Preservation Virginia CEO Elizabeth Kostelny says not so fast.

“There are alternatives to this transmission line that would deliver the power needed on the Peninsula,” Kostelny said.

Kostelny said when the line crosses the river, views preserved for generations will be ruined.

“This is where America was founded and generations of Virginians have protected this visages and these sites,” she said.

Back at Dominion Energy, Billingsley-Harris says the company designed the route to obstruct as little of the view as possible from historic sites, adding it won’t be seen from Jamestown Island. She said it is routed to go through areas already developed.

“We are confident that this is not going to significantly change the landscape of that area,” she said.

The next step in the process is July 11 meeting for a transfer station site in James City County.