California PUC denies CPE's proposed transmission project

SAN FRANCISCO, California -- - The California Public Utilities Commission CPUC recently issued a Proposed Decision that would deny without prejudice Southern California EdisonÂ’s SCE request to construct the Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project.

Administrative Law Judge Irene MoosenÂ’s Proposed Decision dismisses the Application of SCE for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity CPCN without prejudice because the current proposed project cannot be evaluated without new studies that take into consideration: 1 significant changes to transmission grid conditions along the project route that have occurred since the project was proposed, and 2 comprehensive new analyses to identify any residual need for transmission system upgrades in the area.

The Proposed Decision cites comments from the California Independent System Operator CAISO that the need for the project to interconnect the Mojave Solar Project no longer exists due to the retirement of several power plants in the project area. The Proposed Decision also responds to the notification by NRG California South LP that its Coolwater Generating Station has permanently retired as of January 2015. This facility was a 636 megawatt gas-fired facility located in Daggett, California.

“Although some transmission improvements in this area may be needed in the future, the Proposed Decision finds that significant changes in circumstances surrounding the proposed project dictate that the Application should be dismissed without prejudice,” said assigned Commissioner Mike Florio. “If future studies and analysis determine that additional transmission improvements are needed to ensure reliability and/or renewable energy development, a new application can be filed.”

The Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project was proposed by SCE in 2013 and includes the construction of a major transmission line from the Lugo substation near Hesperia, California. to the Coolwater substation near Daggett, California, as well as a new substation near Apple Valley, California. The estimated cost of the proposed project is $936 million.

“If the Proposed Decision is adopted by the CPUC, we may have a very fortunate outcome – saving consumers nearly a billion dollars and preventing environmental impacts because several old power plants have retired and a new solar power plant in the same area will no longer need new transmission lines built to deliver its energy to the transmission system,” said Commissioner Florio.


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