SoCal Renewable Energy Transmission Lines to Power 3M Homes
Southern California Edison (SCE) announced yesterday that the first phase of their Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) was completed. When all phases are developed, TRTP will include a series of new and upgraded high-voltage transmission lines capable of integrating electricity from wind farms, solar and other generation resources to deliver 4,500 megawatts of power, enough for 3 million homes.
The completed segment of TRTP is capable of delivering 700 megawatts according to Theodore F. Craver Jr., chairman, president and chief executive of SCE’s parent corporation, Edison International.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Cal) headlined an assembly of local politicians and addressed a press gathering. The Governor touted California for having the “world’s most ambitious climate policies” claiming that its commitment to renewable energy is at the center of those policies.
“But there is one thing, of course, missing and that is transmission. And that’s what we are celebrating here today — transmission, transmission, transmission,” Schwarzenegger said. “I know that you can have all the renewable energy out there in the desert, all the windmills, all the solar, everything but if you can’t deliver that energy to the homes and to the factories and to the businesses and to the various different communities, you have nothing,” he added.
The Tehachapi project is the first major California transmission project built specifically to access renewable energy.
SCE has completed construction of the first three of eleven segments. The California Public Utilities Commission last December approved SCE’s application to build segments 4-11. Construction of those segments is scheduled to begin later this year, pending final approval from federal land agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, with the project becoming operational in 2015.
During his address, the Governor noted the irony in the fact that creation of an infrastructure capable of providing renewable energy comes from environmentalists.
“[T]he dilemma is that there are a lot of people in the environmental community that like to see renewable energy but also that very same element, the same people, sometimes say, “We can’t build a transmission line here, you can’t touch this mountain over there, you can’t do anything to this forest over there.” So sometimes the very same people that want renewable energy sometimes are making it more difficult to create renewable energy and the transmission lines,” Schwarzenegger said.
During the next five years, SCE forecasts that it will invest $21.5 billion to expand, green and strengthen the region’s power grid. A total of $5.5 billion, or 26 percent of this investment, is directed toward the transmission grid.
SCE claims that in addition to providing wind energy resources to the California transmission grid, the fully completed Tehachapi project will:
- Improve the reliability of the California transmission grid by enabling the expansion of the transfer capability of Path 26, one of the state’s most important north/south transmission corridors;
- Serve the growth in energy demand in the Antelope Valley; and
- Ease transmission constraints into the Los Angeles basin.
The project spans from eastern Kern County to the city of Ontario in San Bernardino County. It will cross portions of the Antelope Valley, the Angeles National Forest, the San Gabriel Valley and the western Inland Empire.