Transmission Lines

TrAIL Line Information

TrAIL is a 500-kV transmission line that was proposed by Dominion and Allegheny Power in 2007 and approved to be built in 2008. The line runs from southwest Pennsylvania, through West Virginia, ultimately terminating in Loudoun County, Virginia. 

Read the full testimony before Congress

PEC President Chris Miller was one of twelve experts from across the country summoned to testify before a House of Representatives subcommittee at a June 12 hearing entitled "The Future of the Grid: Proposals for Reforming National Transmission Policy."

Backers of a "new national grid" are urging the federal government to push through thousands of miles of new major transmission lines, which some claim are needed to link population centers to wind and solar generation in the interior of the country.

Mr. Miller cautioned against a transmission-dominated approach to energy planning, making the following points:

  • Renewable generation need not be located far from the demand.
  • Off-shore wind, distributed solar, geothermal and other forms of renewable generation could be located near the load, reducing the need for long-distance transmission.
  • Transmission lines promoted as "green" could carry coal power.

In December 2007, Piedmont Environmental Council submitted the testimony of nine expert witnesses to the VA State Corporation Commission. These witnesses outline the many reasons this transmission line application should be denied by the SCC.

(The following text was written prior to approval of the TrAIL Line)

The 500-kV transmission line proposed by Dominion Virginia Power and Allegheny Power (through their subsidiary TrAILCo) would begin in Western Pennsylvania, cross through West Virginia, and end in Loudoun County, Virginia. In Virginia it would pass through the Meadow Brook Substation in Frederick County on its way to the Arcola Substation in Loudoun County.

The 10-16 story-tall transmission line would cut through private land, public open space, neighborhoods, historic sites, historic districts, magnificent viewsheds and a high concentration of conservation easements. In Virginia alone the transmission line would impact Frederick, Warren, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Fauquier, Prince William and Loudoun Counties. In addition, approval of the transmission line would lead to increasing reliance on remote coal-fired power plants in the Ohio River Valley with continuing or increasing transmission congestion, transmission losses and environmental damage.

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