Largest wind power transmission project in U.S. underway
By Emily Clark
March 11, 2008
March 12, 2008 Generating power from clean energy sources is one thing, but green energy still needs to find its way to the consumer. In a boost for the State's wind power transmission infrastructure, California’s biggest electric utility Southern California Edison (SCE), has begun construction of the largest project of its type in the United States. Once complete, the project will have the capacity to transmit 4,500 megawatts of electricity from wind farms and other generating companies.
SCE’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will include a series of new and upgraded high-voltage transmission lines for transmitting renewable energy. The first three segments include the following components: two new substations — Windhub and Highwind; a 25.6 mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line connecting SCE’s existing Antelope Substation with the new Windhub Substation; a 9.6 mile, 220 kilovolt transmission line connecting the Windhub Substation and the Highwind Substation; a 21.0-mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line connecting SCE’s existing Antelope and Vincent substations; and a 26.7-mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line connecting SCE’s existing Antelope and Pardee substations. The new lines are expected to be operational in early 2009.
“Construction of the Tehachapi project will create the single largest power block of wind energy in the United States,” said Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The first major transmission project in California to be built specifically to access multiple renewable generators in remote areas, the Tehachapi project is part of a comprehensive $1.8 billion program to provide the high-voltage transmission infrastructure necessary to interconnect and deliver the renewable wind resources to California electricity customers. Completing the Tehachapi project is an important component to meeting California’s renewable energy goals.
The Tehachapi project is part of SCE’s five-year, $5 billion transmission expansion program designed to ensure that Southern California has the robust power delivery system needed by a growing region. The full project, if completed in 2013 as proposed, would be capable of supplying electricity to nearly 3 million homes at peak output. In 2006, SCE delivered about 13 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, 17 percent of its total power deliveries — enough renewable energy to serve 1.8 million homes for an entire year. It is also expected that the project will also improve the reliability of California’s transmission grid by enabling the expansion of the transfer capability of one of the state’s most important north/south transmission corridors.