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The California Independent System Operator Corp. (California ISO), a nonprofit corporation that oversees California's wholesale power grid, has approved an expansion of the power grid in the Tehachapi area of Southern California.

According to California ISO, the $1.8 billion project consists of a series of 17 new facilities or upgrades that will come online over a period of five years - beginning in late 2008. The facilities will accommodate 4,500 MW of transmission capacity for new wind farms and other renewable energy sources once the project is complete.

"This approach produces a comprehensive network upgrade that can be financed by the transmission owner, Southern California Edison, with cost recovery through transmission rates and some additional cost recovery protection provided by the state," says Nancy Rader, California Wind Energy Association's executive director. "The network configuration and clustering approaches taken by California ISO are a promising way to solve the need for renewable energy transmission going forward."

The Tehachapi project is part of the organization's larger plan to study and improve grid reliability. See "California ISO Transmission Plan To Enhance Grid."

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