PJM Interconnection has revised its peak power demand growth forecast downwards for Virginia Peninsula. As per its latest forecast, peak load demand during the summer would grow at an annual rate of 4 per cent though 2027, to reach a total of 20,501 MW, about 8 per cent lesser than last year’s forecast.
However, PJM is still supporting the Surry–Skiffes Creek transmission project to avoid the risks of blackouts and address the identified reliability criteria violations. The 500 kV project entails building an 8-mile (12.88-km), 500 kV transmission line between the Surry switching station in Surry County to the new Skiffes Creek switching station in James City County. The entire transmission line includes a stretch of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) on Dominion land at Surry Power Station in Surry County, 4.1 miles (6.6 km) of overhead line across James River, and 2.3 miles (3.7 km) on land in southern James City County. Of this 3.7-km line stretch, approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 km) will utilise existing Dominion right-of-way (RoW), although the easement will need to be expanded. The company has also proposed a 20.7-mile (33.3-km), 230 kV line from the Skiffes Creek switching station to the Whealton substation in Hampton.
The project has been facing opposition from the State as well as local preservative groups and residents, as it involves constructing a line stretch passing through the scenic section of James River, which was added to the list of America’s most endangered historic places. In June 2016, Dominion Power submitted its revised draft memorandum of agreement (MoA) with environmental agencies for the project to address these issues. National Trust for Historic Preservation, in October 2016, presented four alternatives for the project.
However, under its recent analysis, PJM Interconnection has concluded that none of the four proposed alternatives address all of the reliability criteria violations of the Skiffes Creek 500 kV project.