The board of directors of Imperial Irrigation District (IID; El Centro California, U.S.), a community-owned utility, has unanimously approved a critical transmission upgrade project. The board approved the first phase of a four-phase project. Phase one is the construction of an 8-mile (13-km) portion of the planned 35-mile (56-km) transmission project near the Salton Sea between the existing IID Energy Midway substation and the proposed Bannister substation. In addition, the board approved funding for phases two, three and four to finalize environmental and acquisition rights-of-way for the remaining 27 miles (43 km) of transmission.
Part of IID Energy's overall Green Path Transmission Expansion plan, the new line will increase the reliability of IID Energy's transmission infrastructure, while spurring the growth of the Imperial Valley's budding renewable energy industry. Wheeling revenues generated from the project are expected to repay construction costs within the first several years of operation. Additional revenues will assist in sustaining IID Energy's economical electric rates in the future.