Appalachian Power will bring 200 more employees into its downtown Roanoke headquarters. But the project is more than just a remodel.
Appalachian Power will refurbish its nearly 70-year-old headquarters building on Franklin Road and build an employee parking garage nearby.
The utility will relocate a hundred employees from its AEP Transmission sister company and hire a hundred new ones. That’s because some parts of Appalachian’s system are a century old, according to COO Chris Beam. "This investment and this addition of employees is to address really the aging infrastructure," Beam told Radio IQ. "We have things that will not hold up to severe storms that we know are starting to happen more and more frequently. So the whole idea here is we make the investment, we upgrade the infrastructure.
The remodeling and garage construction should be complete in early 2019. Beam says the system upgrades are a more long term commitment. "So you’re looking at a significant remodel to this building, so that’s a long term investment for us. The jobs are a long term investment. We’re anywhere from 10 to 20 years down the road," Beam said.
Governor Terry McAuliffe used the announcement to tout the state’s growth in renewable energy. "We’ve gone from 17 megawatts of solar to 26-hundred in the last 3 and a half years. Tremendous progress," McAuliffe told reporters. "We just announced the first off shore utility wind project in America we just announced here in Virginia. So we’re making great strides but these are jobs, high paying jobs."
McAuliffe was one of four governors to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit last week in Germany. McAuliffe has committed Virginia to meeting the requirements of the Paris climate deal, even though the United States has withdrawn from the agreement.