BGE will meet with members of the Hanover Road Association and the Valleys Planning Council on August 10. The meeting will be held at the Pearlstone Center at 5425 Mt. Gilead Road (off of Hanover Pike) and begins at 7:30 p.m. BGE representatives will discuss their plans to build a new major regional substation in the area. The utility has purchased two properties within the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area totalling more than 110 acres and plans to construct a major facility that includes a 500-kV yard and a 230-kV yard. Neighbors and area residents were stunned to learn that a substantial industrial facility of this sort could be located in RC2 amid hundreds of acres of protected agricultural land and within an area targeted for ag preservation.

The Valleys Planning Council and Hanover Road Association have been working with the county and BGE to identify potential alternative sites and have also been investigating the need for the $71 million facility. The need has come into question due to faulty demand projections associated with controversial transmission line projects in the mid-Atlantic area. Two major projects have been put on hold recently after re-evaluation by the industry showed that the anticipated problems were not as severe or as imminent as initially reported. Forecasting of power needs and reliability is done by PJM, a regional transmission organization created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. While PJM identifies needed upgrades to portions of the electric grid and sets dates for those improvements, the local utility determines how and where those problems will be addressed.

BGE met with community leaders and concerned neighbors in December 2010 to explain the reliability issues and their proposed solution of a new substation on the grounds of the former Camp Holiday. Residents were floored at the notion of construction vehicles using tiny Kemp Road for access to the site as well as the notion of plopping acres of unenclosed, high-voltage transformers in the midst of preserved lands. BGE officials said they are under orders to correct potential problems with the grid by 2015 and must have a large site near the existing Northwest Substation and along the existing power lines.

BGE must obtain a special exception to gain approval for a substation in the RC2 zone. They are expected to discuss their timeline for county submissions, status of the primary and alternative sites, and answer questions from the audience at the August 10 meeting. The public is encouraged to attend.

To read an article from the Country Crier, click here: BGE Country Crier 6.2011