Thursday, March 28, 2013

TRTP CPUC Order To Analyze Underground Options in Chino Hills

Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP)

Overview of TRTP Segments 4-11


CPUC Order to Analyze Underground Options in Chino Hills

Project Overview:

TRTP Segments 4-11 consist of new and upgraded electrical transmission facilities spanning approximately 173 miles and are being constructed to deliver up to 4,500 megawatts of renewable energy, enough capacity to power three million homes.
(TRTP Segments 1-3 were approved by the CPUC in March 2007 and construction is now complete).

The project traverses over 20 communities and three counties.

It is the first major transmission project in California being constructed specifically to access multiple renewable generators in a remote, renewable-rich resource area.

TRTP 4-11 was approved in December 2009, after two years of review and analysis by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and its team of environmental consultants.

Project Timeline:
Fall 2009
CPUC approves TRTP 4-11 after a two-year licensing phase
Spring 2010 Construction of TRTP 4-11 begins
Winter 2012-13 Segments 4, 5 and 10 completed
Fall 2013 Segment 6 expected to be completed
Winter 2015 Expected project completion

CPUC Order to Analyze Underground Options in Chino Hills

Currently the CPUC is considering whether or not the portion of TRTP within Chino Hills should be placed undergrounded instead of the already-approved overhead configuration.

The underground options being considered would cost approximately $540-$893 million* for the 3.5 mile area in Chino Hills, which is $370–$723 million more than the approved overhead portion in Chino Hills. These additional costs would likely impact ratepayers throughout California.

In the area considered for an underground option, 12 of 16 transmission structures have already been completed as part of the approved overhead position in the existing utility right-of-way corridor (the completed and partially-completed structures would need to be demolished and removed if the CPUC orders an underground option).

SCE’s cost and schedule estimates are based on optimistic scenarios. If SCE is ordered by the CPUC to underground TRTP in Chino Hills and delays are encountered, the operational date of TRTP could be pushed beyond the goal of 2015 and increase the total cost beyond estimates.

The CPUC issued a decision allowing SCE to recover as much as $33 million in pre-construction costs it would incur before the CPUC makes a final decision on whether to proceed with an underground option in Chino Hills. (SCE)

*Based upon SCE underground testimony served on 12/3/2012

**Based upon SCE rate recovery testimony served on 1/17/2013

City of Chino Hills Objections:

The map to the left depicts the SCE proposed route (Segment 8A) that would travel right through the heart of Chino Hills as part of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP). While all Californians recognize the need for renewable energy (and the corresponding infrastructure), there is concern over a section of the chosen route’s proximity to homes, schools, and parks. Community concerns are widespread and range from health and safety issues to aesthetics, noise, and property value impacts.

Chief among the concerns are the following:

A 3-mile portion of the TRTP would consist of double circuit 500 kV transmission lines that would be located within 500 feet of more than 1,000 homes, directly affecting approximately 3,500 people in Chino Hills. In some areas, new 198-foot towers would be located as close as 40 feet from residents’ backyards.

Existing single circuit 220kV transmission lines on the 3-mile portion have been largely inactive for the past 30 years. Transmission towers that now rise 98 feet and are currently no closer than 50 feet from property boundaries. (City of Chino Hills)

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