T&D World Magazine

Southern California Edison Celebrates Milestone for a Major Renewable Transmission Project

The first part of a major renewable transmission project capable of providing enough clean energy to serve about 3 million homes has been completed by Southern California Edison (SCE), an Edison International company, and will soon be providing power.

When all phases are developed, the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will include a series of new and upgraded high-voltage transmission lines capable of delivering 4,500 MW of electricity from wind farms, solar and other generation resources in Northern Los Angeles and Eastern Kern counties.

“Edison International is a leader in the development and delivery of energy from renewable sources,” said Theodore F. Craver, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International. “The Tehachapi project recognizes the importance of tapping into renewable energy sources and exemplifies Edison’s commitment to help California meet its goals for a clean, green energy future.”

“Our bold and innovative policies have made California a world leader in renewable energy, green jobs and environmental protection, and this project is tangible evidence that we are fulfilling our renewable energy promise," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This year alone, there are two dozen renewable energy projects looking to break ground that will create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment in our state. Many of these projects will be built in remote locations so we need transmission lines, just like the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, to bring the clean electricity to the cities where people live and work.”

SCE has completed construction of the first three segments, which are capable of delivering 700 MW of renewable energy. The California Public Utilities Commission last December approved SCE’s application to build segments 4-11. Construction of segments 4-11 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. 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.

In addition to bringing significant wind energy resources to the California transmission grid, the Tehachapi project will provide other meaningful benefits including:

  • Improving 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.
  • Serving the growth in energy demand in the Antelope Valley.
  • Easing transmission constraints into the Los Angeles basin.

The Tehachapi project is the first major California transmission project built specifically to access renewable energy. It is an important infrastructure project for SCE and one of 11 new transmission lines regulators say are needed to help California reach its ambitious renewable energy goals.

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.

The project is another example of SCE leading the way as the nation’s biggest purchaser and provider of renewable energy. In 2009, the utility delivered 13.6 billion kWh of renewable energy, about 17 percent of its total energy portfolio. Since 2002, SCE has entered into 61 contracts that will generate up to 31.2 billion kWh of renewable energy per year.

As a transmission owner, SCE is looking forward to completing the Tehachapi project and building other projects in the state needed by the California Independent System Operator to integrate renewables and support a reliable transmission grid.

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