Scenic America Applauds Dominion Energy’s Successful Undergrounding Project
June 24, 2024
Dominion Energy trucks assemble for hurricane response | Image credit: Rachel Larue

Dominion Energy recently announced that it had successfully completed the undergrounding of 2,000 miles of power lines as part of its Strategic Underground Program. This milestone, announced on June 3, 2024, comes just prior to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1. The completion of this project significantly enhances the resilience of the power grid as well as improves the aesthetic appeal of the landscapes and communities it serves.

With hurricanes posing a substantial risk to overhead power lines, undergrounding offers a proactive solution to mitigate power outages and enhance public safety. By placing power lines underground, Dominion Energy not only reduces the vulnerability of the grid but also aligns with Scenic America’s mission to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of our communities.

Dominion Energy’s initiative to bury power lines is a strategic response to the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events due to climate change. Launched in 2014 as a proactive measure to reduce the number of storm-related outages and improve response time, Dominion’s Strategic Underground Program was recently highlighted in a case study by Scenic America.

“We launched this program a decade ago after finding that a significant number of storm-related power outages were occurring in a relatively small number of areas,” said Ed Baine, President of Dominion Energy Virginia. “By burying the lines in these outage-prone areas, we’re not only reducing the number of outages, but we’re also shortening how long it takes to get the power back on.”

Key Benefits of Undergrounding Power Lines

  • Increased Reliability: Underground power lines are less susceptible to weather-related disruptions, ensuring more consistent and reliable power delivery.
  • Enhanced Safety: With power lines buried, the risk of accidents involving downed lines during storms is significantly reduced.
  • Improved Aesthetics: Removing overhead lines declutters the skyline, providing unobstructed views and contributing to the visual appeal of neighborhoods and scenic areas.
  • Environmental Impact: While the initial installation can be disruptive, the long-term benefits include less frequent maintenance and reduced environmental footprint from repairs.

Dominion Energy’s undergrounding project is a testament to meticulous planning and execution. Spanning multiple years, the project involved extensive coordination with local authorities, landowners, and environmental agencies to minimize disruption and maximize efficiency. Here are some highlights of the project’s timeline and achievements:

  1. Initial Planning: Detailed assessments and community consultations to identify priority areas most vulnerable to storm impacts.
  2. Phased Implementation: Gradual undergrounding in phases to manage resources effectively and ensure continuous service.
  3. Community Collaboration: Ongoing communication with residents and businesses to address concerns and provide updates on progress.
  4. Completion Milestone: Successful burial of 2,000 miles of power lines ahead of the 2024 hurricane season.

The completion of this project has far-reaching implications for the communities served by Dominion Energy. Residents can now enjoy increased peace of mind knowing that their power supply is more secure against hurricanes and severe weather. Additionally, the removal of overhead lines enhances the aesthetic quality of both urban and rural areas, aligning with Scenic America’s vision of preserving the natural beauty of the nation’s landscapes.

In regions particularly prone to hurricanes, such as coastal Virginia, the undergrounding of power lines has been a game-changer. Residents report fewer power outages, quicker recovery times post-storm, and an overall improvement in the visual appeal of their surroundings. Local businesses also benefit from reduced downtime during severe weather, contributing to economic stability and growth.

Dominion Energy’s success sets a precedent for future infrastructure projects aimed at enhancing grid resilience and community safety. The company has indicated plans to continue its undergrounding efforts, targeting additional miles of power lines in the coming years. This ongoing commitment promises to further safeguard communities and protect the scenic beauty of America’s landscapes.

Strategic Goals

  1. Expand Undergrounding Initiatives: Continue identifying and prioritizing areas for future undergrounding projects.
  2. Innovate and Adapt: Utilize emerging technologies and best practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Engage Stakeholders: Maintain transparent communication with communities, local governments, and environmental organizations to foster collaboration and support.

Dominion Energy’s achievement in undergrounding 2,000 miles of power lines represents a significant advancement in infrastructure resilience and aesthetic enhancement. This project not only protects communities from the impacts of severe weather but also aligns with Scenic America’s mission to preserve the natural beauty of our nation. As Dominion Energy continues to lead by example, we look forward to a future where more utilities adopt similar initiatives, ensuring safer, more beautiful communities for all.

By prioritizing both safety and aesthetics, Dominion Energy’s undergrounding project stands as a shining example of how infrastructure improvements can harmoniously blend with the natural environment, creating a more resilient and visually appealing America.