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California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, email@example.com Docket #: A.07-06-031
CPUC APPROVES EDISON'S TEHACHAPI TRANSMISSION LINE
TO SUPPORT RENEWABLE ENERGY
SAN FRANCISCO, December 17, 2009 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today approved Southern California Edison's request to construct Segments 4-11 of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) in order to increase access to new renewable energy. This brings the total of new transmission approved by the CPUC for the state's investor-owned utilities to more than 500 miles, primarily in five major lines carrying 9,000 megawatts (MW), in the past three years with an infrastructure investment of more than $4.5 billion.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commented on today's action, "California leads the nation in developing renewable energy, and with the approval of this project our ability to harness the power of the wind and other renewable sources to deliver clean energy to Californians has been strengthened. The thousands of megawatts of renewable energy capacity this transmission line will add to our grid will help California meet its ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard, protect our environment, increase our energy security and further the growth of our green economy."
The project approved today is the main portion of the 11 segment TRTP, which will provide access for up to 4,500 MW of renewable energy generation, primarily wind from the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Kern County, and to deliver it Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
Previously, the CPUC approved Segments 1-3 of the TRTP, which will deliver approximately 700 MW of the total TRTP carrying capacity. Construction on Segments 1-3 is nearly complete and will be fully energized by the end of this year.
"This project will help bring renewable energy to the grid that would otherwise remain unavailable," said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey. "Ensuring adequate transmission infrastructure is vital to helping the state reach its 20 percent renewable energy goal and will contribute significantly to meeting the 33 percent goal."
"The Tehachapi region is the largest wind resource zone in California and can support economic renewable resource development," said Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich, the Commissioner assigned to the TRTP proceeding. "Edison has already signed contracts for up to 1,800 megawatts of wind resources in Tehachapi and this project will provide transmission for full build-out of the wind resource. It will also ease transmission constraints for Los Angeles and assure grid reliability."
As lead state permitting agency for TRTP, the CPUC conducted an environmental impact report (EIR) in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The CPUC evaluated the environmental impacts of the proposed project and 11 alternatives. The Final EIR identifies the proposed project approved today as the Environmentally Superior Alternative. The Environmentally Superior Alternative covers 173 miles from the new Whirlwind substation in southern Kern County to the Mira Loma substation in Riverside County.
About 70 percent of the approved project's route is on existing right-of-way in compliance with the state policy, known under a state law as the Garamendi Principles, to site and expand transmission infrastructure within existing right of way.
The CPUC set a maximum cost of $1.5 billion for the project, excluding allowance for funds used during construction, estimated at $261.82 million, for an estimated total project cost of $1.8 billion for the project.
Commissioner John A. Bohn commented, "This has been a very difficult decision. The broader interests of the people of California are best served by the timely delivery of increased amounts of renewable generation. Therefore, we must go forward."
Added Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, "It is imperative that California sites and constructs transmission more expeditiously, and this Decision is a step in the right direction. It is important that we invest in the critical infrastructure that will move us incrementally closer to our renewable energy goals while fostering green collar jobs opportunities."
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.