Southern California Edison (SCE) has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the U.S. Forest Service for authorization to construct Segments 4 through 11 of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, a series of new and upgraded high-voltage electric transmission lines to deliver electricity from proposed new wind farms in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area to SCE customers and the California transmission grid.
The Tehachapi project includes a series of new and upgraded high-voltage electric transmission lines and substations to deliver electricity from new wind farms in eastern Kern County, California, to the Los Angeles basin. These wind farms are in varying stages of planning and construction. The project would cost approximately $1.8 billion and if completed in 2013 as proposed, would be capable of carrying 4500 MW of electricity, enough energy to supply nearly 3 million homes at peak output.
SCE has proposed constructing the Tehachapi project in 11 segments to coincide with the development of independently owned wind farms. Segments 1-3, originally filed as the Antelope Transmission Project, were approved by the CPUC in March. The approved segments include upgrades to an existing substation in Lancaster, two new substations in the east Kern County area to collect wind energy, and transmission lines to the Lancaster, Acton and Santa Clarita areas to allow that wind power to be added to the electric grid. Upon completion, the Tehachapi project's 11 segments will extend from eastern Kern County to the city of Ontario in San Bernardino County, traversing portions of the Antelope Valley, the Angeles National Forest, the San Gabriel Valley and the western Inland Empire.
Ron Litzinger, SCE senior vice president of transmission and distribution, said SCE's Tehachapi project is the first major transmission project in California being constructed specifically to deliver renewable power from remote, renewable-rich resource areas to the load centers of Southern California.
"Completing the Tehachapi project is an essential component to meeting California's renewable energy goals," Litzinger said. "The project will strengthen and enhance SCE's transmission system by creating a new path for renewable energy to meet the increasing electricity demand of Southern California."
In addition to bringing significant wind energy resources to the California transmission grid, the Tehachapi project will provide many other meaningful benefits. It will:
- Improve 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.
- Serve the growth in energy demand in the Antelope Valley; and
- Ease transmission constraints into the Los Angeles basin.
In all but a few areas, the Tehachapi project would be constructed in existing utility rights-of-way, replacing or upgrading existing SCE facilities.
During the next five years, SCE will invest approximately $4 billion to expand its transmission grid and access new economical and renewable resources for its customers to ensure that Southern California has the robust power delivery system needed by a growing region.
-In addition to its five-year, approximately $4 billion transmission expansion program, SCE will invest $9 billion in distribution infrastructure expansion and replacement during the same period. During 2007, SCE expects to:
- Replace 9,700 poles.
- Replace 34 miles of primary underground cables.
- Install 47 new distribution circuits.
- Install 78,000 new meters.
- Replace 15 substation transformers.
- Expand the capacity of 16 distribution substations.
-SCE hopes to receive regulatory approval soon to study building new renewable transmission lines that could access between 5,000 and 10,000 megawatts of untapped geothermal and solar energy in the Southwest.
- In March, SCE launched its 2007 open, competitive solicitation for additional renewable power contracts, its fifth solicitation since 2002. Proposals were received in May, with contracts expected to be submitted to the CPUC for approval in December. Previous solicitations have secured for SCE customers 25 renewable energy contracts with the potential of generating up to 14 billion kilowatt-hours, enough electricity to serve about 2 million average homes for a year.
The actual output of renewable energy projects may be limited due to weather conditions and transmission availability.
- During 2006, SCE delivered 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, 16.8 percent of total power deliveries under California's renewable portfolio standard guidelines.