About Us

Californian water utility commits to transmission for renewables

Oct 26, 2007 - Renewable Energy Focus

EL CENTRO, California - A water utility in southern California will construct a transmission line to tap into 1,600 MW of geothermal and solar capacity.

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors will build a 32-mile, 230 kV dedicated transmission line from the Salton Sea to connect a proposed project of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and one of San Diego Gas & Electric. LADWP’s Green Path North and SDG&E’s Green Path Southwest links are still in the proposal stages, although the latter application is before the California Public Utilities Commission for approval early next year.

The IID’s decision is unilateral and the Salton-Midway project is not dependent on the other projects and utilities, the water utility explains. The link is necessary for the utility’s own needs, regardless of what else is built.

The board resolution, ‘Incentives to Interconnect & Export Renewable Resources,’ commits the utility 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 transmission corridor would offer 1,600 MW of green power export capacity from the Salton Sea area.

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

The district delivers water to 140,000 customers over 450,000 acres of farmland in southern California. It is the largest irrigation district in the U.S. and its electrical division has become the sixth largest consumer-owned utility in the state.

The transmission line is a ten-year project that will require a number of further actions and incremental efforts, say officials. The number of renewable power developers and the level of interest will determine how quickly the project gets built.

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