By Fred Pace
Growing demand for electricity in the Beaver and Daniels areas sparked plans to build a new high-voltage power line from Appalachian Power’s Clifftop station to its Cherry Creek station. Today, the company will energize the new transmission line.
“A new transmission line that will improve reliability in the Beckley area has been completed and is set to go into service today,” said Jay Johnson, project manager for the line.
The new transmission line stretches through 7.2 miles of Raleigh County, near Beaver and Daniels.
Construction on the Clifftop-Cherry Creek line began in 2004, but the 138-kilovolt transfer line with high-voltage line on 80-foot single poles had its critics. Some residents protested the line being to close to their homes and said they feared health effects of magnetic fields from the high-voltage power lines.
Since there was little scientific evidence to support such claims, Appalachian Power was able to work with homeowners to reach agreements on the routes for the new power lines.
Appalachian Power officials said growth in the area reached a point where electric service reliability was compromised.
“Normally, we see electrical load growth of about 2 percent a year,” Johnson said. “In this area, we’re seeing a load growth rate of more than 5 percent a year. That’s good news for the economy in the area, but it meant we needed to make this improvement to our infrastructure.”
To shore up service in the area, the company constructed the new transmission line from Clifftop Station to Cherry Creek Station.
“The line will prevent overloads of critical facilities and provide adequate capacity levels for future growth and development in the area,” Johnson explained.
The project also included installation of a new 138/46kV, 90 MVA transformer at the Cherry Creek Station as well as other station work and associated distribution work to integrate the new line and transformer to the existing transmission system, Johnson added.
Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. It is a unit of American Electric Power, the nation’s largest electricity generator.
AEP owns more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity and is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states.
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