Below is a letter Progress Energy sent to numerous property owners in Hoke County last week, announcing prospective routes under consideration for a transmission line. The project was announced last year, and public meetings were held about in Raeford and Rockingham counties in November.
Progress Energy Carolinas (PEC) announced last year a plan to invest an estimated $70 million in improving electric system reliability in the region by building a new electric transmission line between Progress Energy Carolinas’ Richmond County Energy Complex south of Hamlet and an electric substation in Cumberland County.
Progress Energy has identified the need for the project to help ensure a continued reliable supply of electric service to homes and businesses. The company plans to add a new electric generation plant, fueled by natural gas, at the Richmond County Energy complex, to be in service in mid-2011, to meet growing customer demand for electricity. An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 new households and businesses are added to the Progress Energy Carolinas system each year. The new transmission line is needed to ensure the energy generated by the plant will flow reliably through the region.
The project calls for building about 60 miles of 230-kiloVolt transmission line between the plant switching station and a substation on the Fort Bragg Army Base. The line will enhance reliability throughout the region, for Progress Energy customers and customers of other electric cooperatives and utilities.
The transmission line will be built on easements that the utility companies will acquire in the coming months. Under an easement agreement, the utility pays the property owner a one-time fee to enable the construction and maintenance of the power line. The property owner retains ownership, with some limitations on the land’s use.
The project schedule calls for a final route to be determined by March, followed by surveying and acquisition of easements. Initial clearing is scheduled to begin in mid-2009, with construction from early 2010 through May 2011, to coincide with the completion of the power plant. (The in-service dates are based on current information. In-service dates for projects of this sort sometimes move based on changes in growth and usage projections and other criteria.)
A comprehensive transmission line siting study is under way to determine the best route for the line from a number of alternative routes. The alternative routes are formed from numerous route “segments” that, when joined together, create numerous possibilities, which enables us to develop the best possible route with the least overall impact. Each route segment is identified by a unique number.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that county records indicate that you own property along route segments that PEC is now considering. Please refer to the attached map showing all segments now under consideration. The segments that are being added are identified with red segment numbers and are listed below:
73, 74, 76, 78, 111b,111c, 112, 113,114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, and 140.
These segments are being added because a portion of the potential route proposed last year must now be eliminated from consideration. Progress Energy formally requested approval of a Plank Road route on Fort Bragg in December, and base officials denied the request due to concerns about potential impacts to training areas. Also, recent reviews by environmental agencies have resulted in the removal of all route segments south of Fort Bragg and north of Raeford because these segments would impose too much impact on the sensitive ecological system in this area and the ongoing restoration of the Red Cockaded Woodpecker population. Given this, PEC needs alternatives to the one remaining Plank Road route to reach the Woodruff Street substation. Progress Energy is continuing to work with Fort Bragg officials in an effort to identify an acceptable route on the base.
A critical part of determining the best option for the line route is getting your input. Progress Energy will hold a public information meeting to hear from you at the following time and location:
Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Raeford Civic Center located at 200 College Dr., Raeford, NC.
The meeting will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will follow an open-house format, allowing participants to come and go as they choose. Representatives of Progress Energy will be on hand to discuss the project’s scope and schedule and to answer questions. We also will be seeking your input on the best route. Please plan to attend the meeting to provide your perspective.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to visit the Web site we have created for our ongoing transmission projects in the Carolinas: www.progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/transmission/carolinas. You’ll see a list of all the projects under way or planned, representing more than $350 million in community investments. Click on the Richmond-Fort Bragg 230-kV project heading for more information.
If you have questions concerning this letter, or if you have other questions about the project, please direct them to our project hot-line: 1-800-527-7854, or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Progress Energy will respond as quickly as possible.
Emerson F. Gower, Jr.
Vice President-Southern Region
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