McClellanville Transmission Line Proposal
Central Electric Power Cooperative proposed construction of a new transmission line to provide improved power reliability and quality to Berkeley Electric’s customers in the McClellanville area. Central Electric is working through the National Environmental Policy Act’s environmental review process to determine alternatives to construction of a new line, and the best route for a new transmission line, if needed.
The comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement has concluded, we are now waiting for a decision as to whether the Cooperatives will proceed with a Final Environmental Impact Statement or revise/supplement the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Questions about the project may be submitted to Lauren McGee Rayburn, Environmental Scientist, Rural Utilities Service, 84 Coxe Ave., Suite 1E, Asheville, N.C. 28801; by email to Lauren.McGee@wdc.usda.gov, or by fax to 202-690-0649.
A 45-day public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) began May 9th 2015, and concluded on July 3rd (the extended deadline). A public meeting was held by the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and Central Electric on June 3rd, 2015 (5:00pm-8:00pm) at St. James Santee Elementary School. Oral comments were taken during the public hearing.
About the project
Berkeley Electric, which gets its power through a contract with Central Electric Power Cooperative, currently takes electric service from a pole-mounted metering point near McClellanville. The metering point is on a 22-mile-long, 25-kilovolt distribution line owned and operated by SCE&G. From the metering point, Berkeley Electric’s distribution line runs another 18 miles. Together, the two utilities’ lines run 40 miles, providing service to 1,100 Berkeley Electric customers from Awendaw to outlying areas of McClellanville. The town of McClellanville is currently served by SCE&G. Because McClellanville area residents are at the end of the line, they often suffer from unreliable power service and frequent outages.
This proposed transmission project is intended to address the current power demand and future growth, accounting for an expected population growth of 2.2 percent each year for the next 20 years. The DEIS narrows alternative routes from 13 to six, including eliminating the options of rebuilding the existing distribution line or utilizing a corridor from the Charity switching station traveling south of the Francis Marion National Forest and following the existing right of way along Highway 17.
The six alternatives outlined in the DEIS involve construction of a 20-mile long (with 75 foot right of way) transmission line from the north, traveling south to the McClellanville area through multiple protected properties, including the Santee Delta. Four of the proposed routes generally run south from Belle Isle substation near Georgetown and either parallel U.S. Highway 17 or veer off through portions of the national forest. The other two routes start near Belle Isle but swing slightly west and south through Georgetown County before crossing the Santee River and moving either along U.S. 17 or through part of the forest in Charleston County.