California Governor Jerry Brown issued a press release denoting his dedication of the controversial Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. Situated in Southern California's San Diego County, it is designed to "deliver millions of kilowatt hours of renewable energy, strengthen grid reliability during hot summer months and help California meet its renewable energy goals."
What is the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line?
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) describes the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line as an electric "superhighway." Stretching from Imperial County to San Diego, it measures 117 miles, cost $1.883 billion and has the capacity of delivering energy to as many as 650,000 customers. Construction began in fall 2010 and ended earlier this year.
How does this utility project factor into California's renewable energy plan?
As noted by the governor, the successful completion of this transmission line makes it possible for SDG&E to deliver 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. Brown set these requirements for California's electricity providers in 2011.
Will the transmission line reduce the risk of rolling blackouts in Southern California?
KABC-TV warned last month that the decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station could lead to rolling blackouts in South Orange County and other Southern California cities served by the electricity generator. Residents in these areas are already familiar with officials' pleas to conserve energy during the hottest parts of the summer days, postpone energy-requiring household chores until nighttime and reduce the use of air conditioning to bare minimums. The governor is confident in the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line's ability to "help keep the lights on during this year's hot summer with the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant offline."
Who opposed the construction of the transmission line?
UT San Diego identified San Diego's Utility Consumers' Action Network and the Sierra Club as two of the entities opposing the transmission. While environmentalists succeeded in keeping the line out of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, where it was initially slated for construction, it nevertheless affects the Cleveland National Forest and several local communities such as Campo, Alpine, and Jacumba. "It's just destroying what we have back here," a Campo-Lake Morena planning group spokesperson told the publication at the time.
What happens next?
The North County Times reports on SDG&E's intention to donate 266 acres of land to the Cleveland National Forest. Situated adjacent to Cedar Creek Falls between the communities of Julian and Ramona, the donation intends to mitigate some of the environmental impacts of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line's construction. In the months and years to come, SDG&E intends to donate more than 12 parcels of land to benefit local habitat protection of endangered species.
Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.
- Nature & Environment
- Southern California
- renewable energy