Investing more than $2 billion in nearly 40 high voltage projects in the state\u2019s regulatory pipeline is expected to ensure grid reliability while meeting the state\u2019s 33 percent renewables mandate by 2020, according to a draft report by the California Independent System Operator. Of the forty, two take into account continued non-production of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Five transmission projects are to support the state\u2019s one-third renewables portfolio mandate. One focuses on reducing major congestion on the grid. The vast majority are high voltage undertakings aiming to maintain grid reliability. \u201cThe ISO recognizes that uncertainty remains regarding how California will ultimately meet its 33 percent [renewable portfolio standard] goals in terms of the precise locations, resource mix and quantity of renewable energy resources,\u201d states the grid operator\u2019s Feb. 1 draft 2012-13 transmission planning study. It adds that the approved transmission projects \u201ccan accommodate a diverse range of plausible renewable development scenarios.\u201d The grid operator, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission collaborated on how best to increase alternative energy projects across the state considering project impacts--from financial to environmental. In addition to in-state transmission projects connecting to the main grid, state agencies want to pursue developing a high voltage line to Nevada. CAISO expects that the 500 kV El Dorado to Harry Allen project would produce \u201csignificant economic benefits.\u201d It\u2019s jointly working on a study of the project with NV Energy in Las Vegas. A separate report released last week touted the benefits of importing wind power from Wyoming via a new high voltage line stretching into California. It concludes that would generate substantial cost savings and environmental benefits for California (see sidebar). CAISO\u2019s main priority is grid stability, while the CPUC and Energy Commission focus far more on reaching the state\u2019s 33 percent renewable mandate and relying on greater energy efficiency. Last week, the three entities were chastised for significant differences in estimating supply and demand by the chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee (Current, Feb. 1, 2013). Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) directed the trio to align their disparate energy forecast analyses. Of the more than three dozen state transmission projects approved or awaiting approval at the CPUC, eight cost more than $50 million. The other 28 cost less than $50 million, at a combined cost of $436 million. The big projects include: -Installing synchronous condensers at the Talega 230kV Substation to provide voltage support to the transmission system in the Orange County area; -Adding a dynamic reactive power source--the Orange County Static VAR Compensator--near the San Onofre nuke switchyard; -Upgrading the Atlantic-Placer 115 kV Line in the Central Valley area of Pacific Gas & Electric\u2019s system to reduce overload; -Adding a Gates-Gregg 230 kV Line not only to reduce overload in Fresno served by PG&E, but also to support the Helms pumped storage project; -Adding a transformer to the Gates substation in the Fresno area of the PG&E system; and -Installing new substations and reinforcements to ease overload at the Midway-Andrew 230 kV Project in the Central Coast, Northern Fresno 115 kV facility, and Lockeford-Lodi Area 230 kV Development in the Central Valley area, all of which are in PG&E\u2019s system. CAISO recommends in its draft transmission planning study approval of a 500 kV line--the Delaney-Colorado River project--to slash transmission costs and losses and allow for \u201cimproved access to cost efficient resources in Arizona.\u201d Part of the transmission study plan\u2019s aim is to give independent generators some reassurance that projects they build in places at considerable distances away from population centers stand a good chance of hooking into some high voltage lines. Many projects have stalled because of fears by renewable generators they will be stranded, especially in the desert. The grid operator updates its transmission planning report every year in collaboration with the CPUC and Energy Commission.