Southampton Roads Reliability Project

Yadkin–Chesapeake Energy Center and Suffolk–Thrasher

(Note: This project was formerly known as the Suffolk-Yadkin 230kV Line.)

Project Update

In November 2012, Dominion Virginia Power began considering a plan to construct a 230 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line between two existing substations in Suffolk and Chesapeake to support growing capacity and changing energy needs in the region. Electrical demand planners have since identified a solution which would utilize existing rights-of-way and minimize impacts to neighbors and the environment.

Enhancements to two existing electric transmission lines are being proposed to provide seamless, reliable power upon generation plant retirements in the region, including the Chesapeake Energy Center.

Project Details

Project Map
Project Description

Yadkin Substation – Chesapeake Energy Center

The enhanced 2.9-mile line will utilize the existing right-of-way corridor extending from the Yadkin Substation to the Chesapeake Energy Center. Existing, aging lattice-style structures will be replaced with new lattice structures and new conductor cable.

Suffolk Substation – Thrasher Substation

An improved 21-mile line will also utilize existing right-of-way corridor and extend between the Suffolk and Thrasher Substations. No new structures will be required, and new conductor cable will be added.

Environmental and transportation permitting will be necessary prior to construction beginning on either line project.

Project Benefits

Dominion’s new line project will:

  • add needed capacity to serve high growth area,
  • respond to impending power station closure(s),
  • comply with mandatory North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability standards,
  • help strengthen the electrical grid,
  • take advantage of the existing corridor, and
  • improve overall reliability for the community

View a presentation to learn more about the need for this project.

Project Timeline
  • September 2012 - Outreach to State and Local officials
  • Fall 2012 - Public outreach, letters, website, open house
  • Early Fall 2014 - Community outreach and notification of intent to construct
  • Fall 2014 - Construction scheduled to begin, pending applicable permits
  • May 2015 - Target date to energize transmission line
Contact Us

Contact us if you have questions or concerns about these line enhancement projects.

Questions and Answers

Will Dominion require additional right-of-way?

The enhancements of existing lines will not require the acquisition of new right-of-way.

What is an easement? Do I still own my property?

Yes, the property owner still owns the land. Easement agreements provide Dominion with a specified set of rights needed to construct, operate and maintain electric facilities across private land.

How will the completion of this project benefit me as a resident?

Due to the interconnected nature of the electric transmission grid, all power users in the area rely on Dominion's transmission infrastructure to deliver reliable power. The enhanced lines will provide increased operational flexibility and greater system reliability. As an area resident, this means fewer outages, and shorter durations should an outage occur.

What other investments has Dominion made to improve transmission reliability in the Hampton Roads area?

Dominion’s recent and near-term investments in Hampton Roads electric transmission infrastructure total over $482 million. They include:

Additional Reliability Projects

  • $175M to be invested in reliability projects in the Hampton Roads area over the next 4 years.
What is the electric transmission grid and how does it serve local customers?

The electric grid is the network of power lines that carries electricity from power plants to residential, industrial and commercial customers. To work effectively, electricity must at all times flow safely and reliably throughout the grid so the power is available when needed. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems. A ten-part series of stories from National Public Radio has been published on, examining the costs, the politics and other challenges of upgrading the country's electricity grid. View additional information about how the electric grid operates.

What is the cost of adding this new line?

Preliminary estimates are $15-$20 million to construct and energize the enhanced lines.

What will be the environmental impact of construction of the line?

As part of our regulatory applications, Dominion completes an evaluation of potential environmental, cultural, and historical impacts of the project. Dominion works with many local and state agencies to complete these evaluations and mitigate any impacts. All required permits are obtained and permitting conditions are met. Permitting agencies typically include the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia Dept. of Transportation; and commenting agencies include the Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources, among others.

Our enterprise-wide environmental report describes our commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources and provides a wealth of information on environmental management and performance. We also invite you to read our Corporate Environmental Policy and our Greenhouse Gas report.

Should I be concerned about Electric and Magnetic Fields?

Dominion is sensitive to public concern about possible health effects from exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF). We continually monitor EMF research and speak to our customers and employees regularly to share the latest information available.

The Virginia Department of Health, in its final report, "Monitoring of Ongoing Research of the Health Effects on High Voltage Transmission Lines," said:

"Based on the review and analysis of the exhaustive literature review and other research projects completed under the EMF-RAPID program, the Virginia Department of Health is of the opinion that there is no conclusive and convincing evidence that exposure to extremely low frequency EMF emanated from nearby high voltage transmission lines is causally associated with an increased incidence of cancer or other detrimental health effects in humans. Even if it is assumed that there is an increased risk of cancer as implied in some epidemiologic studies, the empirical relative risk appears to be fairly small in magnitude and the observed association appears to be tenuous. The studies published in the literature lack clear demonstration of a cause and effect relationship as well as a definitive dose-response gradient."

Additional information:

Will Dominion repair damage due to construction?

Yes. Our easement agreements allow us access to private roads of property owners crossed by the right of way. The company, at its expense, will repair any private roads damaged by Dominion or its contractors during construction of the line or during future maintenance. In addition, we will reimburse property owners for crop damage, and repair or replace fences or gates if we damage them.

Can Dominion build a portion or the entire line underground?

Overhead lines have proven to be the best choice for providing safe, reliable and economical energy to our customers. Underground transmission lines are not as desirable from an operational point of view. The duration of outages for underground transmission lines is significantly greater compared to overhead lines due to the complexities of locating failures and facilitating repairs. Additionally, labor and material costs for the installation of a 230 kV underground transmission line would be 6 to 10 times more expensive than an overhead option.

Dominion operates a high-voltage network of approximately 6,100 miles of transmission lines. Of this total, only about 1% (67 miles) is comprised of underground cables. At 230 kilovolts, such as the proposed line, there are approximately 2,600 miles of overhead lines and 44 miles of underground cables in our service area. These underground installations are primarily for large water crossings, dense metro areas, or other areas that are not suitable for overhead lines.

Where can I obtain more information on the project’s SCC application?

After the application is filed, The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) will maintain copies of all documents related to the case. Updates about the status of the application will be available on the SCC website at

To learn more about this process, view our SCC process map.

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