SDG&E video chronicles construction of Sunrise Powerlink

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has made public a video that chronicles the construction of the Sunrise Powerlink, which was energized on June 17 to transmit renewable energy from the wind- and solar-rich Imperial Valley to the San Diego area.

With the pounding music and rapid scene changes of a high-energy music video, “The Road To Sunrise” reduces 18 months of construction activities to a fast-paced three minutes. It was first shown at the project’s dedication ceremony on July 26 and was made publicly available on the utility’s web site Aug. 21.

“We wanted to be able to show our supporters how complex a project Sunrise was and how many different techniques of construction were used, but make the video fun and fast and exciting,” an SDG&E spokesperson told TransmissionHub Aug. 23.

The utility also wanted to show the “green energy” aspect of the line, but faced a challenge because the renewable projects have not yet been constructed. To overcome that challenge, producers used a “green sizzle” to emphasize that green solar and wind energy will soon be traveling across the line, the spokesperson said.

Emmy-award winning production company Industrial Strength Television of San Marcos, Calif., produced the video after spending four years documenting the planning and construction of Sunrise.

“We shot over 20,000 video clips, over 60,000 still photos and conducted over 100 interviews” during the process, producer/director Nick Nordquist told TransmissionHub Aug. 23. “Only a couple hundred of those shots appear in the video,” which includes special effects, explosions, and construction workers flying through the air, tethered beneath helicopters.

The $1.9bn, 117-mile project was completed nearly six months ahead of the original construction schedule, despite delays to protect wildlife, construction mishaps, and a month-long grounding of the helicopter construction fleet after a series of violations and rotor strikes.

Over the past three years, SDG&E has signed eight renewable agreements for more than 1,000 MW of solar and wind power from projects in Imperial County. Some of those projects are expected to come on-line within a year or so, according to company officials.

By 2020, 33% of SDG&E’s power will be derived from renewable resources, according to the utility, in compliance with the state’s renewable portfolio mandate.

SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).