IID Plans to Increase Renewable Energy Transmission

At a recent meeting, the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Board of Directors unanimously adopted two major policy initiatives designed to bolster renewable energy development in the Salton Sea area, where up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of untapped geothermal resources are located.

In a resolution entitled “Incentives to Interconnect and Export Renewable Resources,” the board committed itself and the district to advancing California’s renewable energy goals by acting as a catalyst for the transmission of new geothermal, solar and wind-powered generation proposed for the region.

The resolution contains two components, said IID board President Stella Mendoza, both of which are intended to facilitate the development and export of renewable energy from the Imperial Valley to the Southern California coastal plain.

The first component of the plan would be to significantly increase the district’s current export capability over the next decade. This renewable transmission program includes the construction of new 230kV lines and performing system upgrades at key interconnection facilities to accommodate new generation.

Over the same time period, IID would build a dedicated 230kV line from its Midway substation through the Salton Sea area (where the undeveloped geothermal resource is thought to be greatest) to Bannister Road, providing access to the district’s network grid.

This transmission corridor would offer up to 1,600 MW of renewable energy export capacity from the Salton Sea area.

“By adopting this resolution,” Mendoza said, “the IID is placing itself at the vanguard of change in harnessing and transmitting renewable resources within its control area. We see this as a win/win for IID ratepayers and California taxpayers.”

In a related move, the board amended its open access transmission tariff to incorporate provisions dealing with interconnection agreements. The new OATT, which was revised in consultation with renewable energy generators already operating in the region, will provide renewable energy generators with more uniformity in the planning, processing and scheduling of new interconnections into the IID transmission system.

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