SDG&E Suspends Powerlink Transmission Plan

By Published On: April 28, 2006

San Diego Gas & Electric pulled its plan for the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line at the California Public Utilities Commission, according to commissioners. The utility expects to amend its proposal this summer on the basis of a recent agreement to use the Imperial Irrigation District’s Green Path as the first leg of the project. Under an agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District and Citizens Energy, SDG&E will use a 500 kV line being built by the two other organizations to move power to its Narrows substation. SDG&E will build a line from there to its Penasquitos substation, which lies in the heart of its service territory. State agencies have to approve the transmission line. The California Independent System Operator is expected to consider approving the project in July, according to Lad Lorenz, SDG&E vice-president of regulatory affairs. The CPUC said that it would hold off on evaluating the need for the project until the utility submits an environmental assessment (Circuit, April 7, 2006). “The commission has recognized our view that there is an urgent need for the Sunrise Powerlink project in terms of reliability,” said Stephanie Donovan, SDG&E spokesperson. The Utility Consumers’ Action Network believes SDG&E might be able to meet the goals of the Sunrise project more economically through other alternatives. These include enhancing power import capacity from Mexico and increasing capacity to bring power in from the north, wrote Michael Shames, UCAN executive director, in an April 12 letter to CAISO. Shames said his organization is studying these and other alternatives and will file its analysis with the CPUC late this year. Sunrise Powerlink is intended to transmit renewable energy – solar and geothermal power – from the Imperial Valley into San Diego and boost reliability in the populous coastal area

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