Bristol, Tennessee (South Bristol)

Proposed Transmission Project

TVA is considering improvements to its transmission system that would provide power for growing load and increase power reliability in the Bristol, Tennessee area.   

Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) provides power to their service area from the Bluff City and Blountville 161-kilovolt Stations which they own jointly with TVA. These stations, along with TVA’s South Holston Hydro Plant, feed into BTES’s extensive 69-kilovolt system which is near capacity. 

The Blountville Station is projected to exceed its guaranteed available (i.e., “firm”) capacity by winter 2021 based on forecasted system loading. The Bluff City Station is heavily loaded and could also overload in extreme conditions if power from the South Holston Hydro Plant is not available. Currently, the complete loss of either the Bluff City or Blountville Station during heavy loading conditions would result in an overload of the remaining substation. This overload scenario is worsened if the loss of either station should occur during a time when South Holston Hydro Plant generation is not available. Additionally, the loss of the Bluff City Station during heavy loading conditions creates heavy load flows on the entire 69-kilovolt system which could result in depressed system voltages and loss of load on the system.

Because the Bluff City Station cannot be taken out of service for any period of time due to current system conditions, BTES and TVA have been unable to complete upgrades to the station required by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

The BTES service area has also been growing steadily for the last five years.  BTES has received several inquiries from potential customers about locating at their industrial parks. BTES would not be able to accommodate these potential new customers with the current loading on their system. This project would increase power reliability and support growing load in the Bristol, Tennessee area.

BTES proposes to build a new station, South Bristol 161-kilovolt Station, with very high capacity. Based on the new station’s increased capacity and BTES’s plans to provide for long-range growth and system backup needs, TVA proposes to provide two separate sources of power and would build two transmission lines from the grid into the new South Bristol Station. 

BTES will build the South Bristol 161-kilovolt Station between Weaver Pike and State Route 394 in Bristol, Tennessee.  TVA would serve the new station by building two single-circuit 161-kilovolt transmission lines that would each terminate at the new South Bristol Station. One new line would begin at TVA’s Sullivan 500-kilovolt Station, and the other would begin at TVA’s Bluff City 161-kilovolt Station.

The lines would be built using steel, single- and double-pole structures centered on existing and new 100-foot-wide right of way. The amount of new right of way required ranges from about 7.9 to 9.1 miles for the proposed Sullivan-South Bristol Transmission Line and from about 3.4 to 5.4 miles for the proposed Bluff City-South Bristol Transmission Line. 

In order to use existing right of way to the extent practical, TVA would parallel existing TVA power lines and may parallel an existing BTES line. In these areas, some new right of way would be required to attain the 100-foot width needed for TVA’s new lines. Also, TVA may utilize the vacant side of an existing line which would require no new right of way.

Property owners near and along the alternative transmission line segments have been invited to a virtual open house by mail – including about 346 property owners representing about 524 parcels.

The virtual open house is available from January 14 through February 16, 2021, at

Property owners and members of the public are invited to submit comments and questions about this proposed transmission project through February 16, 2021.

The project is expected to be in service in spring 2024. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2023.  (Dates are subject to change. During projects of this magnitude, unexpected issues may arise, resulting in the need to adjust the schedule.)

Single Pole on left and H-Frame on Right

Public Involvement

South Bristol, Tennessee Virtual Open House
January 14 through February 16, 2021

TVA's process for siting new transmission projects is designed to allow public input at various stages. TVA is committed to working with area stakeholders to address concerns during various stages of the project. Comments received during the comment period will be used in reaching a decision on the proposed action.

If you cannot access the virtual open house but have questions or comments, please contact Todd Liskey.  All written comments on this proposed action should be sent to TVA no later than February 16, 2021.  (See contact information below.)


The map shows the area of the proposed transmission improvements. The map is also available below as a PDF file.

If you have questions or need help understanding the map, please contact TVA (see below).

Possible routes of transmission line

Project Schedule

(Dates are subject to change. During projects of this magnitude, unexpected issues may arise, resulting in the need to adjust the schedule.)

Virtual open house begins January 14, 2021
Comments accepted through February 16, 2021
Determine preferred route for field surveys Spring 2021
Surveys of the right of way are scheduled to begin Winter 2021-2022
Easement purchases are scheduled to begin Fall 2022
Construction is scheduled to begin Summer 2023
Project in service Spring 2024

Environmental Reviews

The appropriate National Environmental Policy Act review will be conducted to ensure that the environmental impacts are minimized. TVA attempts to minimize any land requirements, private property impacts, and environmental impacts associated with this project.

Efforts are made during the siting process to avoid or minimize impacts to floodplains and wetlands in accordance with Executive Orders 11988 and 11990. Floodplains and wetlands are shown on the referenced map. The map illustrates how the route avoids or impacts floodplains and wetlands. Because of project and topographic constraints and because of minimizing impacts to other social, environmental, and engineering resources, no practicable alternative may be available that would allow complete avoidance of impacts to floodplains and wetlands which may require mitigation for minimizing impacts. Also, best management practices would be utilized throughout the project to minimize adverse floodplain and wetland impacts. In compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, TVA will be coordinating wetland findings with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


More information on this project can be obtained from:

Todd Liskey
1101 Market Street, MR 4G
Chattanooga, TN 37402-2801