The California Public Utilities Commission, to promote renewable power, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve electricity reliability in the San Diego region, today approved San Diego Gas and Electric Co.'s application to construct the Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project.

The project will support the development of renewable energy in the Imperial Valley, one of the state's richest renewable energy regions. Replacing fossil fueled generation with geothermal, solar, and wind energy is necessary for California to meet its renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The project is also expected to improve the reliability of the transmission network in the San Diego region and reduce costs for consumers.

The CPUC approved a route for the transmission line that goes through southern Imperial and San Diego counties and rejected a proposal to locate the line in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. SDG&E is required to implement significant mitigation measures to minimize the environmental impact of the project.

"Sunrise will improve our transmission system and provide reliable electricity to guard against unexpected high load growth in SDG&E's service area," said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey. "This critical infrastructure upgrade will also help SDG&E meet its renewable power goals because it will deliver renewable generation from the Imperial Valley that would otherwise remain unavailable. This will help us meet our renewable power goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

"The approved route for the line is the best option. Building the line through Anza-Borrego park would have negatively impacted wilderness areas and recreational opportunities," said Commissioner Rachelle Chong. "The lack of transmission has slowed the development of renewable energy in California. Approving Sunrise Powerlink helps remove this barrier."

"In addition to improving reliability and access to renewable energy, Sunrise will also promote economic growth," said CPUC Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon. "Constructing Sunrise and tapping into the Imperial Valley's renewable energy potential will bring jobs and development to the Imperial Valley region."