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Progress Energy Carolinas has selected a route for a new 115 kV electric transmission line needed to ensure a continued reliable supply of electricity for the region.

The transmission project, announced in 2008, represents a $25 million investment in the electric system that serves homes and businesses throughout western North Carolina. The route was chosen after an evaluation process that included significant input from property owners, government agencies and others.

The company's continuous assessment of electric system needs indicates that by 2010, under certain circumstances, reliability of the electric transmission system that serves the region could be compromised.

Such an occurrence would violate federal reliability standards, which were revised and strengthened in response to the Northeast blackout of 2003. In order to ensure continued compliance with federal standards, the company has planned a two-phase project.

The first phase is an upgrade of the existing Asheville-Enka transmission line - currently operating at 115 kV - to 230 kV. That portion of the project, scheduled to be in service by December 2010, will not require additional easements from property owners.

The second phase includes construction of a new 10-mile 115 kV transmission line between the company's Asheville Plant at Skyland and the Enka 230-kV substation at 414 Sardis Road. That portion of the project is scheduled to be in service in late 2012 and will require acquisition of easements from some property owners.

Surveying and mapping of the selected route and initial right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin this year. Clearing is scheduled to begin in 2011, followed by construction of the line. The project is expected to be in service by December 2012.

SOURCE: Progress Energy Carolinas

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