San Diego Gas & Electric has submitted official testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reaffirming the need for the Sunrise Powerlink and countering alternatives proposed by project opponents that the utility said do not adequately address the long-term energy needs of the region or the state’s energy policy initiatives. In its testimony, SDG&E described why the Sunrise Powerlink still is the most cost-effective solution to improve energy reliability, tap renewable energy resources in the Imperial Valley and meet greenhouse-gas-reduction mandates.

"After careful analysis of all the alternative proposals, it’s clear that, as part of SDG&E’s balanced, long-term energy resource plan for the region, Sunrise Powerlink is the best way to cost-effectively meet the long-term energy needs of our customers, ensure reliability of our system and comply with California’s aggressive energy and environmental policy initiatives,” said Mike Niggli, chief operating officer for SDG&E. The Sunrise Powerlink would be the first new transmission line connecting the San Diego region to the state’s energy grid in nearly 25 years. State and federal government agencies, as well as other energy experts, have determined that San Diego needs more transmission capacity to meet future demand. The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, and the California Energy Commission both have found that the Sunrise Powerlink is needed to maintain grid reliability. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Energy has designated San Diego as one of the weakest and most vulnerable transmission corridors in the country.SDG&E also reiterated in its testimony that the Sunrise Powerlink is needed to cost-effectively access the developing supplies of clean, renewable energy located primarily east of San Diego. Last week, SDG&E announced that recently it had received bids from developers to build nearly 5,000 MW worth of clean wind, solar and geothermal energy projects – many of which would connect to the Sunrise Powerlink. State mandates require SDG&E to derive 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010. "Gaining access to renewable energy supplies east of San Diego is the key to our green energy future,” said Niggli. “But without the Sunrise Powerlink, many of the proposed projects will never materialize.”A final decision by the CPUC on the Sunrise Powerlink is expected in January 2008.