East County News Service
October 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The most controversial project in memory in East County was the construction of the 500kV Sunrise Powerlink, which was built despite objections of a coalition representing 79,000 people--though the route was changed amid public outcry.
Now, a new set of 500 kV power lines are proposed through San Diego’s East County and Imperial County as part of the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which is currently available for public review and comment at www.drecp.org. The plan aims to open 22 million acres up for energy development including vast swaths in our region.
“Most people don’t know that new 500 kV lines are planned for East County as part of the DRECP,” says Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group, who alerted ECM to this proposal buried in the DRECP language. “Please share this information with others and encourage them to get involved.”
Plans for one to two new 500 KV lines through East County along the Sunrise Powerlink are shown for all the alternative proposals New lines to substations in East County are also planned. (See the DRECP Preferred Alternative for maps at the back of Appendix K; boxes on the map state that oddly, existing high-voltage power lines are not shown.) All documents are at www.drecp.org.
Two public meetings on the DRECP are planned in our region on the DRECP, the first on Monday Oct. 20 from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Imperial Irrigation District Board Room, 1285 Broadway in El Centro, and the second on October 21 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Mission Valley Hilton Hotel, 901 Camino del Rio South in San Diego. Curiously, the state did not book any meetings in East County, the portion of San Diego County most impacted by the lines.
The DRECP preferred alternative document summary and map show all of Imperial Valley farmland as a Designated Focus Area (marked in pink), which coincides with the current Imperial County General Plan update for renewable energy and transmission funded by the California Energy Commission.
Also see Figure 6 map at page 37 for map with SDG&E's alternatives for new lines to Suncrest Substation on Japatul Road and other Substations as part of the CAISO 2014-15 transmission planning process and replacement for loss of San Onofre: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2014publications/CEC-700-2014-002/CEC-700-2014-002-AD.pdf See the October 8th CAISO meeting documents posted here for more details: http://www.caiso.com/planning/Pages/TransmissionPlanning/2014-2015TransmissionPlanningProcess.aspx
Imperial Irrigation District has plans for the Strategic Transmission Expansion PLan (STEP) to accommodate exportation of 2,200 MW of renewable energy at a cost of $431 million to $1.7Billion: http://www.iid.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8596; http://www.iid.com/index.aspx?recordid=362&page=30
East County residents overwhelming opposed Sunrise Powerlink due to fire dangers, visual blight, and health concerns for those living near the lines.
Local readers, please post your comments on this proposal in our comments section below, and submit your formal comments at http://www.drecp.org or testify at one of the upcoming hearings.
For readers elsewhere in California, that link also lists hearings in other regions of California.