After winning approval from the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), Southern California Edison (SCE) is a step closer to building a 170-mile, $537 million transmission system to send solar and possibly other renewable energy from Riverside County to the southern part of the state.
The new line, called Devers Palo Verde2, would be capable of delivering an additional 1.2GW of electricity to Southern California.
An earlier version of the plan called for additional transmission lines into Arizona, but that state's regulators said they didn't want Arizona to become a power supplier for its heavily populated neighbor.
While certainly good news for SCE, the utility isn't quite done with the approval process. The proposed project still needs another stamp of approval from the California Independent System Operator (CISO), which oversees and manages the state's power grid. An SCE representative said a date for that agency to review the proposal has not yet been established.
While a primary goal of the Smart Grid and national energy policy is to add new renewable energy resources to the electric grid, obstacles include a lack of transmission capacity to handle the additional power, and the need to build more lines to send power from the often remote locations where power is produced to the cities that need it.
SCE has said that its project would help relieve existing transmission congestion in the region to accommodate the additional input from renewable power sources.
Specifically, the proposal calls for construction of a 128-mile 500kV line from SCE's Devers substation which is close to Palm Springs to a switchyard near Blythe, and a 42-mile line from the Devers substation to the utility's Valley substation in Riverside County.
If SCE gets final approval from the CISO, the utility expects to complete the transmission project in 2013.
Earlier this year, SCE and First Solar, Inc. released their plans to build two photovoltaic solar power operations in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Reuters news article
Los Angeles Business Journal news coverage
Smart Grid Transmission on SGN