Mar 20, 2006
San Diego Gas & Electric
SAN DIEGO, March 20, 2006 – After months of analyzing data and gathering public input, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced details of its proposed route for the Sunrise Powerlink, a new electric-transmission line from Imperial Valley, Calif., to the northwest portion of the utility’s service territory in San Diego County. The line will deliver 1,000 megawatts to the region by 2010 – enough energy for about 650,000 homes.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone for the project, but the route is still a ‘work in progress,’” said James P. Avery, SDG&E’s senior vice president-electric. “What we’ve proposed is the result of many months of work and feedback from hundreds of people in San Diego County, but it is only the beginning. As regulators consider our project, the process will include many opportunities for additional public comment over the next several months.”
The Sunrise Powerlink is needed to improve the reliability of the region’s power grid, to provide access to renewable sources of energy – such as solar, wind and geothermal power – and to reduce overall energy costs, according to SDG&E officials.
Now that the utility has identified its proposed and alternate alignments for the project, a more extensive engineering and environmental analysis will get under way, with the goal of filing an environmental assessment of the routes with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) this summer.
The proposed routes use SDG&E’s existing transmission rights-of-way, as well as land under the jurisdiction of a number of local, state and federal agencies, and some private property.
In certain areas, SDG&E plans to remove or consolidate lower-voltage transmission poles and wires with the new line, and is considering placing portions of the line under ground where there are no facilities now or where SDG&E’s rights-of-way are not wide enough. For example, SDG&E proposes to put portions of the line under ground in Ramona and in Rancho Penasquitos.
“I appreciate SDG&E’s efforts to take into consideration creative ways to reduce the impact of this new line on the environment and on residents who live along the route,” said San Diego City Council President Scott Peters, who represents Rancho Penasquitos, which is in District 1. “All of us will benefit from this much-needed addition to our region’s energy infrastructure. I look forward to working with SDG&E and my constituents in the months ahead on exploring ways to minimize the impacts of this project.”
SDG&E has divided its preferred path for the line into four segments – Desert, Central, Inland Valley and Coastal – to help facilitate ongoing discussion of the proposed and alternate routes.
• Desert: This part of the 500-kilovolt (kV) line runs about 55 miles through a mostly uninhabited area from an existing substation in the Imperial Valley along a utility right-of-way through a portion of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. SDG&E continues to work with state park officials and the federal Bureau of Land Management to remove or re-locate some of the existing utility facilities to mitigate the environmental impact.
• Central: This portion of the project includes both 500-kV and 230-kV segments and travels another 35 miles to end at a proposed new substation on property owned by the Vista Irrigation District near the junction of S-2 and SR-79. Alternate substation sites are near the Santa Ysabel area. SDG&E plans to consolidate the new substation with either its existing Warner or Santa Ysabel substation, depending on where the new one is built.
• Inland Valley: This 230-kV portion travels about 25 miles along SDG&E’s rights-of-way or roads in the community of Ramona, but also includes potential underground options through some populated areas.
• Coastal: This 230-kV portion of the project runs about 15 miles through existing utility easements in the communities of Scripps Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos and Torrey Hills. The utility is also considering underground options in this locale.
The lower-voltage segments are needed to connect the new 500-kV Sunrise Powerlink with the rest of SDG&E’s existing system to support the growing demand for electricity in this area.
“In designing the proposed route, we have worked with a number of agencies and residents on ways to help reduce the profile of the line, beautify and restore historically sensitive areas and reduce the overall impact on the environment,” said Avery. “As the environmental assessment goes forward, we expect that some of the routing details could change. We welcome additional public input and encourage communities to get involved in the process.”
The next phase of SDG&E’s public outreach effort kicks off today with community meetings in San Diego and Ramona to talk about the various proposed route options. Nine other community meetings are scheduled over the next two weeks around San Diego and Imperial counties. All sessions are open to the public.
To check the schedule of meetings, learn more about the project, or provide input, contact SDG&E through the project’s toll-free information line, (877) 775-6818, or visit the project Web site, www.sdge.com/sunrisepowerlink.
San Diego Gas & Electric is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.3 million electric meters and more than 825,000 natural gas meters. The utility’s service area spans 4,100 square miles and serves customers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border. Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life. SDG&E is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to www.sdge.com.