If for some reason, San Diego Gas & Electric\u2019s embattled Sunrise Powerlink project isn\u2019t built, that might not be a bad thing for renewable energy in San Diego County, some say. One of the main arguments that SDG&E has made in support of building the transmission superhighway was that it\u2019s needed to meet the utility\u2019s renewables portfolio standard obligation of obtaining 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by the end of next year. But in its 4-1 decision last December 2008 to approve the project, the California Public Utilities Commission stripped a provision that the utility be required to run a minimum amount of renewable power on the Sunrise Powerlink. Center for Biological Diversity spokesperson Ileene Anderson has said there are enough solar power and other renewable power resources near San Diego for the utility to develop, making the planned 123-mile, $2 billion Sunrise project unnecessary. \u201cThere is no guarantee that this multi-billion dollar transmission line will reduce greenhouse gas pollution or lead to the development of significant \u2026 renewable energy,\u201d she said. The Center filed a petition with the California Supreme Court against the project January 21, alleging that the CPUC violated California environmental law by failing to ensure that the project would be used principally to carry renewable energy. The Sierra Club followed with its own petition two days later. SDG&E did not respond to requests for comment for this story, but the utility has previously contended that it already has contracts for 430 MW of renewable electricity if and when the line opens in 2012, and 1,029 MW by 2015. \u201cNew transmission lines must be required to actually carry renewable energy, and we will continue to push this issue to the forefront in the debate over transmission lines in California,\u201d Anderson said. \u201cNot building the Sunrise Powerlink would be a boon for San Diego County renewable energy development, as it would likely shift development toward rooftop, parking lot, and substation photovoltaic arrays,\u201d added Bill Powers, Border Power Plant Working Group chair. The reason he believes this is because Sempra Generation, an unregulated affiliate of Sempra Energy and cousin to its regulated utility, SDG&E, recently opened a thin-film solar photovoltaic plant in Boulder City, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. That facility is set to provide 10 MW of power to northern California under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric. Known as the El Dorado Energy Solar facility, Powers said, it proves that by shifting focus, SDG&E could bring more renewable energy through the existing Southwest Powerlink, which feeds power from Arizona into San Diego County.