Jan 14, 2008
January 14, 2008
RICHMOND, Va. - Supporters of Dominion's proposed Northern Virginia electric transmission line told the Virginia State Corporation Commission today that the project is essential to the economic health and security of the fast-growing region.
Michael Cooper of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates both Washington Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County and Washington Reagan National Airport in Alexandria, told the commission that Dulles is in the midst of a multi-billion-dollar expansion project to accommodate a projected near-doubling of passengers by 2020.
"The Airports Authority recognizes that our capacity to provide the national capital area with a world-class, global aviation system is heavily dependent on maintaining a reliable source of electricity," said Cooper. "Our need for increased electrical power grows annually.
"Reliable electric service is essential to the operation of both of our airports. We have benefited from the reliable service that Dominion provides and we support needed investments to make sure that this reliability continues in the future," Cooper said.
Dominion Virginia Power has applied with the SCC to build a 65-mile, 500,000-volt transmission line to alleviate projected overloads of the transmission system in the summer of 2011 and the potential for rolling blackouts. The proposed route is entirely atop or adjacent to an existing power line between electric substations in Frederick County and Loudoun County.
Dozens of speakers testified in support of the power line at the SCC's final public hearing today. Dozens of others have spoken on behalf of the line at previous public meetings and hundreds have sent letters of support to the SCC.
The SCC staff last week released two reports by independent consultants that said a critical need exists for electric reliability improvements by 2011 in Northern Virginia and recommends the route proposed by Dominion for a transmission line.
"The results of the … study indicate that without the proposed (Meadow Brook-to-) Loudoun Line, (federal) and (Dominion Virginia Power) reliability criteria cannot be met in either 2011 or 2016," said the study from Bates White LLC of Washington, D.C. "In other words, there is a need to improve the existing power system to reliably serve the expected demand growth in both 2011 and 2016. The proposed Loudoun Line would fully resolve the expected reliability issues in 2011."
Testifying in support today, Erin Wegner, co-owner of a licensed children day-care facility in Tysons Corner, said that one of the only items about electricity to which they paid attention when they prepared their business plan was outlet placement.
"Without adequate and reliable power, we cannot keep our facility warm in winter and cool in summer. Without electricity we cannot use the dishwasher to adequately clean dishes, cups, and toys. Without electricity, we cannot use the vacuum, keep the humidifier running, play music DVDs, go on the computer to download information, send out emails to our parents, print out happy-birthday banners or do the hundreds of things we do each day to keep our children safe, comfortable and secure," she said. "We depend upon electricity every minute of every day we are open."
Bob Redmond, chairman of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce legislative committee, testified the loss of reliable electricity in Northern Virginia could negatively affect business growth.
"Compared with other major cities, the region has a larger proportion of Hispanic-owned companies in professional areas such as high technology, legal, accounting, engineering and translation services," Redmond said. "However, transmission reliability issues would quickly stem this new growth. This is why we urge the commission to approve the Dominion proposal."
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 26,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion serves retail energy customers in 11 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at http://www.dom.com.
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Jim Norvelle, (804) 771-6115