State approves Progress Energy transmission line

Posted November 3, 2008 12:39 p.m. EST

— The state Utilities Commission on Friday approved a 64-mile route through four counties for a Progress Energy power transmission line.

The 230-kilovolt line will extend from Hamlet to Fort Bragg and will cross through Richmond, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland counties. It is part of Progress Energy's plans to build a 600-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant near Hamlet.

The approved route runs from the Richmond County Energy Complex east along Interstate 74 for about five miles, turns southeast and joins Progress Energy's existing 500-kilovolt transmission line corridor just before entering Scotland County. The route then runs parallel to existing 230- and 500-kilovolt transmission lines for about 18 miles through Scotland County.

After crossing the Lumber River, the route turns northeast and extends across rural Hoke County south of Raeford into Cumberland County, where it turns north to enter Fort Bragg. There, the line will tie into an existing Progress Energy substation.

The route was chosen from among about 500 potential routes, company officials said, because it minimizes the overall impact to homeowners and natural and cultural resources.

Property owners have protested the utility's plans, saying the easement for the power line would hurt their property values. They also said they didn't like the potential health problems that could result from having a high-voltage line nearby.

Company officials said the new power plant and the transmission lines are needed to provide electricity for the 25,000 to 30,000 new homes and businesses moving into its service area each year.

The plant is expected to be in service by the middle of 2011, officials said.