East County News Service
January 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced last week that the new East County (ECO) Substation project has been energized and is now operating as an integral part of SDG&E’s electric transmission system.
The entire project includes a new 58 acre state-of-the-art substation in the East County community of Jacumba, an upgraded substation in Boulevard and a 14-mile transmission line connecting the two substations. The ECO Substation project was designed to enhance electric reliability in the region and to help facilitate the delivery of renewable wind and solar energy to SDG&E customers.
“The ECO Substation project is a vital reliability addition to our local transmission system and will improve our service to our customers in the eastern part of our county.” said David L. Geier, vice president of electric transmission and system engineering for SDG&E. “This project will also help in meeting California’s aggressive renewable energy goals by facilitating the development of renewable energy in the region.”
Construction began on the approximately $435 million project in May 2013 and the 500kV transmission substation in Jacumba was completed about one year later in June 2014. Construction recently wrapped up on the reconstruction and modernization of the existing Boulevard substation which was built more than 60 years ago. Both the reconstructed Boulevard substation and new 14-mile 138kV transmission line connecting the two new substations were placed into service last week. The ECO Substation project interconnects with the existing 500kV Southwest Powerlink transmission line, strengthening this part of the transmission system.
The project drew controversy for using over 90 million gallons of water during construction – three times more than forecast. Environmentalists and some residents also objected to the massive grading and environmental disruption.
Construction required nearly 950,000 work hours. In the process, SDG&E reports an impressive safety record given the scale of the project, 75 percent lower than the industry’s national average for similar construction projects.
SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.