CPUC upholds construction decision concerning Mcgrath Substation

March 22, 2012 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) upheld its decision approving construction of the McGrath 66 kV Substation Project by Southern California Edison (SCE) in Oxnard, Ventura County.

Today’s action, in response to an appeal of a previous CPUC decision, will allow SCE to proceed with construction of the McGrath Project and denied the appeal.

In response to the extreme heat and power demands during the summer of 2006, the CPUC directed SCE to pursue the development of up to five SCE-owned peaker units of up to 250 megawatts total generating capacity. These peaker plants would meet the need for maintaining a reliable source of energy during periods of peak usage and demand.

In November 2006, SCE received its Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the California Coastal Commission (CCC), which approved the City of Oxnard as the local designee for coastal projects located within city limits. On March 10, 2009, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) reconfirmed the continuing need for the proposed peaker power plant to meet the state’s energy needs.

On September 30, 2010, SCE proposed to construct the McGrath 66 kV Substation Project to interconnect the approved, but not yet constructed, SCE McGrath gas turbine peaker generating facility, located in Oxnard on property already owned by SCE. The McGrath Substation Project would involve the construction of two new 66 kV lines (the McGrath Peaker 66 kV interconnection line and the Gonzales-Mandalay-McGrath 66 kV line) to connect the SCE McGrath peaker generating facility to the SCE transmission grid.

Today’s decision found that SCE demonstrated that the McGrath 66 kV Substation facilities were exempt from the need for a Permit to Construct because California Environmental Quality Act requirements had been satisfied by the CCC’s Certified Staff Report. The question regarding the need for the McGrath Peaker raised by protesters were not a valid basis for protest because it is outside the scope of appeal under the rules, the CPUC determined.