Wind Power

New Transmission Line Could Boost Wind Power

A new transmission project designed to carry wind energy from California’s Tehachapi and Antelope Valley area to customers throughout California met with swift approval from the California Independent System Operator Board of Governors. The new line is needed to carry power from an expansion of wind turbine generators planned for the area.

Folsom, California – August 2, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The Tehachapi range already is home to more than 600 MW of wind generation, making it California’s largest concentration of wind turbines. As much as 1,100 MW worth of new wind projects are planned for the region. The new clean and renewable generation is expected to help California utilities meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires 20 percent of the energy the Investor-Owned Utilities deliver to their customers to come from renewable resources by the year 2017. Expansion of California’s wind generation is expected to play a major role in meeting that goal. “We’ve already seen a significant expansion in wind generation in California, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Marcie Edwards, Interim CEO of the California ISO. “Our Board recognizes that and today took action to ensure that this growing, clean, and renewable source of energy in the Tehachapis can make it to the grid.” The California ISO studies and approves new transmission proposals as part of an overall grid planning process. In this case the benefits of the new line were clear. The existing transmission infrastructure in the Tehachapi wind resource area is inadequate to accommodate the new generation planned for the area. There are projects totaling 700 MW worth of new generation already in the Cal ISO interconnection queue. With ISO approval in hand, Southern California Edison plans to apply to the CPUC for final permission to build the project. The 25-mile Antelope-Pardee line will cost about $94 million to build. It could be energized as early as December 2006. Southern California Edison originally proposed building a 230 Kilovolt (KV) transmission line to handle a 500 MW expansion in wind production in the area. However, many companies plan to expand their wind production there, and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) believes the area could eventually produce as much as 4,000 MW. Based on that, Edison will build the project to 500 KV design standards. However, the line may initially be energized at 230 KV and upgraded to 500 KV at a later date. The California ISO is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation charged with managing the flow of electricity along California’s open-market wholesale power grid. The mission of the California ISO is to safeguard the reliable delivery of electricity, and ensure equal access to a 25,000 circuit miles of “electron highway.” As the impartial operator of the wholesale power grid in the state, the California ISO conducts a small portion of the bulk power markets. These markets are used to allocate space on the transmission lines, maintain operating reserves and match supply with demand in real time.