Appalachian Power officials along with County Administrator Kathleen Guzi were present in Cloverdale Elementary School Cafeteria on Jan. 31 to preview the proposed Appalachian Power Co. $230 million expansion to a cluster of substations and power lines in Cloverdale. An informational meeting Open House was held from 5-8 p.m.
The 500-kilovolt, 22-acre substation would be built on property already owned by the utility near the intersection of U.S. 220 and Interstate 81 in southern Botetourt County, not far from an existing two-part substation. Along with the the current substations in the general vicinity the total substaion space for APCO will be over forty five acres. The sites are not adjoining.
The project manager is Dave Wright a Botetourt resident and project engineer is Robert Whitaker. They along with customer relations spokesman Todd Burns, spoke of the process. Burns said, “This project should provide a power hub for the entire region.”
Citizens filed in and out for the open house that featured a photo essay of where and what the project will entail as well as a rendering of what it will look like finished.
First, the new 22 acre project is behind the Southern States on Cloverdale Road. It will sit in the valley behind the store and will be buffered by a fast growing tree barrier as well as perhaps an earthen berm. ( see photos for more information.) APCO has been working on the preliminary phase for over a year, said Whitaker and Wright.
Next, when asked about potential benefits to Botetourt County Guzi and Burns both responded. Guzi said, “When people look at us for economic development plentiful electricty is one of the things they want to know.” The project will enhance potential new business. Botetourt County is in a crunch time for money this budget season. Some really good news was added by Burns. ” We expect this project will bring in somewhere $750,000 to 1 million in revenue for the county.”
Finally, “The process to go before the SCC, the next step, and be approved will take about a year,” Wright said. Whitaker followed with they hope to get the project complete by December of 2016.