Filing claims Amazon doesn’t need controversial Prince William County transmission line for data-center | Business

For the better part of three years, furor has steadily mounted over a proposed 230-kilovolt transmission line and associated electrical infrastructure that Dominion Energy wants to build in Prince William County, primarily to power an Amazon data center expansion but also, it says, to improve reliability and electrical service in the area.

Yet in a filing last week, opponents say lawyers for Amazon have acknowledged the data center expansion may not happen, undercutting the rationale for the entire controversial project.

At present, the lines and towers more than 100 feet tall are scheduled to run from Haymarket and Gainesville through the Carver Road area, a historic black neighborhood that includes properties acquired after an 1866 law allowed newly freed slaves to own land.

“On March 8, 2017, Dominion’s customer admitted before the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers that its block load electric services requirement, which serves as the basis of the application, does not currently exist and may not exist in the future,” the Coalition to Protect Prince William County wrote in a motion for rehearing or reconsideration filed last week with the State Corporation Commission.

Amazon representatives, as in the past, did not respond to a request for comment. Dominion spokesman Chuck Penn said the project has “broad public benefit,” serving more than 450 customers directly upon completion and improving reliability for more than 6,000 customers in western Prince William.

The utility has “not been given any reason to believe” that the two additional buildings proposed at the Midwood data center project in Haymarket will not be built, Penn added. Even without the expansion, “the company believes it would still need a transmission solution in the Haymarket load area,” Penn said.

The SCC, which issued a final order…

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