Sunrise Powerlink will help feed hunger for renewable energy

California’s aggressive renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to obtain 33% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020. Although the state has great renewable energy potential, transmission constraints do exist, making the task of meeting the mandate difficult.

Enter the Sunrise Powerlink, a 117-mile, 500 kV transmission line that is being developed by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to carry power from Imperial County west to San Diego. According to SDG&E, experts have identified the Imperial Valley/Baja Norte regions of California as having huge renewable energy potential.

Studies conducted by California’s Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) estimate that the area has the potential to produce up to 12 GW of renewable energy – 6.5 GW of solar power, 3.5 GW of wind power and 2 GW of geothermal.

“If you look at the various studies that have been done on Imperial County, the eastern part of San Diego County and northern Baja, this region is considered a mega region for renewable energy,” says SDG&E’s Jennifer Ramp, adding that the utility has signed several power purchase agreements (PPAs) for projects that will connect to the transmission line.

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