San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has announced that the utility's Sunrise Powerlink transmission line is now transmitting more than 1 GW of renewable energy to the San Diego region.
Before the nearly $1.9 billion infrastructure project was approved, SDG&E pledged that Sunrise would be used to deliver substantial amounts of Imperial Valley renewable power to the California market. The 500 kV Sunrise Powerlink, which was completed in 2012, connects the Imperial Valley Substation in Imperial County to the Sycamore Canyon Substation in San Diego County. The recent addition of the 150 MW Solar Gen 2 Imperial Valley solar project pushed the total amount of solar and wind power being transmitted on the line past the 1 GW mark.
‘When SDG&E voluntarily committed that a third of the power we deliver to our customers would be renewable, the Sunrise Powerlink was the optimal path to get us where we needed to be,’ explains James P. Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.
‘Once it was clear this transmission project would be built, providing a second path to access the renewable-rich Imperial Valley, renewable developers realized their potential projects would be able to deliver energy to SDG&E customers.’
The utility says that in addition to helping to green the grid, the Sunrise Powerlink has proven to be a critical addition to the region's transmission infrastructure since the retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). For the past three summers, when customer demand typically is highest, the Sunrise Powerlink has enabled the import of additional energy into the San Diego region, which has been one of the most important mitigation measures to help maintain electric reliability without the power previously provided by SONGS.