Danville endorses Appalachian Power’s immediate move of power line at megasite

Appalachian Power is going to move a 2-mile-long portion of an electric transmission line from three lots at the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill to help improve the value of the property.

Danville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to enter into a support agreement with the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority for the project, as requested by the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

The tobacco commission is providing a $4.5 million deferred loan at 1.5% interest per year for the project. RIFA then would provide those dollars to Appalachian Power.

In return the company has agreed to to refund all or part of the project each time a new customer locates to those three lots and enters into a capacity contract for at least 1 megawatt for a 5-year period, Danville Economic Development Director Corrie T. Bobe wrote in a letter to City Council.

This 3,700-acre, uncertified megasite in southwestern Pittsylvania County is owned by RIFA.

RIFA wanted the line moved from a 200-acre pad at Berry Hill to reduce risk for companies interested in the site and to get certification for the park.

“We’re in the process of getting certified at the megasite,” Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe said in February. “That [the electric line] disrupts the continuity of the property.”

“Some companies would view that [a private easement running through the site] as being a risk,” Rowe said at the time.

Although the site has Tier 5 certification from the state, RIFA is seeking certification from Quest Site Solutions in Greenville, South Carolina.

“They’re a highly regarded site consultant group that has a high track record of being associated with large, transformative site projects,” Rowe said in February.

“Relocation of the power line has also been identified as high priority during RIFA’s pursuit of the coveted megasite certification from Quest Site Solutions [formerly McCallum Sweeney], the site-selection criteria used by every OEM automotive plant plant over the last three decades,” Bobe wrote in a letter to City Council. “

“OEM” stands for original equipment manufacturer.

Certification lets companies know “you’ve done due diligence” at a site to minimize risk for businesses locating there, Rowe said.

An industry interested in bringing a large-scale project would not want to wait for the line to be moved, which, Rowe said, could be completed in six months.

The RIFA board voted, 4-0, during its meeting in February to enter into an agreement with Appalachian Power for preliminary engineering, design and environmental work on the project, pending legal counsel review and approval.

City backs loan

In an unrelated matter, City Council approved a “moral obligation” to support the renewal of a loan from American National Bank & Trust Co. to the Danville Industrial Development Authority to buy the former U.S. Green Energy property at 1350 Barker Road.

The IDA borrowed money in 2019 to buy the property, which includes 59.12 acres in Cane Creek Centre and a relatively new building with 27,000 square feet of finished manufacturing space and office and and service areas. The $956,000 loan will be renewed for a term of 36 months.

“As part of that commitment, American National Bank requires the moral obligation of the city to repay the loan with American National in the event that the authority fails to do so,” the moral obligation agreement for the loan renewal states.

Register & Bee – John Crane