By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Sunrise Powerlink tower dwarfs mountain ridges in McCain Valley
September 7, 2018 (Boulevard) -- Boulder Brush LLC (Terra-Gen) is seeking a major use permit to construct and operate a gen-tie line and substation/switchyard facilities on 110 acres of private land in McCain Valley south of I-8. The gen-time line would carry energy from the Terra-Gen Wind project proposed on Campo Kumeyaay tribal lands.
According to the project description provided by the developer to the county in the preliminary application, the substation would be at the northern portion of the parcels, adjacent to the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, and would connect to the Powerlink.
The properties are primarily ranch land surrounded by a mixture of private, state, tribal and Bureau of Land Management federal recreational property. The regional landscape ranges from open space and rugged rocky and mountainous terrain to large-lot rural residences.
The 500-kv Sunrise Powerlink is on the northern portion of the site; wind turbines in the Tule Wind project are adjacent to it on the east, north and northwest.
Past energy projects drew opposition from environmentalists, recreational enthusiasts and residents who contended that the industrial-scale energy projects and destruction of boulder-strewn landscape in the area negatively impacted wildlife habitat, scenic views and recreational opportunities for hikers and campers in McCain Valley, gateway to two federal wilderness areas.
Support for the projects came largely from non-residents of the Boulevard area pushing for renewable resources to help the county meet state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction goals and meet the region’s energy needs.
The Boulevard Planning Commission will be considering the Boulder Brush project at its October meeting, says Chair Donna Tisdale.