No movement in City of Chino Hills vs. SoCal Edison court battle

Southern California Edison (SCE) and the city of Chino Hills, Calif., appeared before a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) administrative law judge (ALJ) on March 19 for a prehearing conference, the latest step in the parties’ ongoing dispute over the siting of a section of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) through the city.

The purpose of the prehearing conference was to determine the positions of the parties, issues, and other procedural matters, according to the CPUC’s notice of prehearing conference.

Spokespersons for SCE and the city of Chino Hills told TransmissionHub on March 20 that the ALJ is reviewing the materials provided but did not schedule any further sessions at the time of the prehearing conference.

In the meantime, several interested parties have petitioned the court, seeking to be granted party status.

NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) said the delays in completing the project “has injected tremendous uncertainty in the assumptions used for its North Sky (River Wind) Project,” and that “the line is needed for the project to deliver its full capacity.” The project will eventually supply nearly 300 MW of renewable energy.

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) has also filed court papers asking for party status. CEERT’s filing stated that it “has long supported the development of much-needed transmission infrastructure to access the renewables-rich, but remote, areas of California,” and therefore has an interest in this case.

At issue is the city’s petition to modify the CPUC’s December 2009 authorization of construction of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP); specifically, the portion of the project that runs through Chino Hills.

SCE began constructing a five-mile stretch of the 250-mi, 500-kV line through the city in May 2011, but residents objected after the first tubular steel poles were erected, claiming their visual and economic impact was far greater than previously envisioned. The CPUC ordered work on the stretch of line halted pending resolution of the dispute.

California has a mandate to obtain 33% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Once completed, the $2.2bn Tehachapi project will be capable of delivering up to 4,500 MW of wind energy from the Tehachapi area to population centers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in California, according to SCE’s website.

SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX).