City of Chino Hills supports calls for quick decision on TRTP

The city of Chino Hills, Calif., has told the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) it agrees with calls by numerous organizations to expedite a decision on undergrounding the segment of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) that runs through the city (Docket No. A07-06-031).

In a Sept. 18 letter to CPUC chair Michael Peevey, the city said it “supports the suggestion of the [Independent Energy Producers Association] (IEPA) that the determination of the viability and feasibility of an underground design … can be made far sooner than provided for in the assigned commissioner ruling (ACR) dated July 2.”

In the letter from the city’s counsel, Michael Day, the city said it is “prepared to offer its own testimony in support of an underground option well in advance of the March 2013 deadline contained in the ACR.”

On July 2, CPUC president Michael Peevey issued an assigned commissioner ruling (ACR) requiring developer Southern California Edison (SCE) to provide testimony based on preliminary engineering studies of two undergrounding options for the line’s Segment 8A. Those studies are due by Feb. 28, 2013.

The IEPA, the California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA), and California’s Large-scale Solar Association (LSA) have asked the CPUC to expedite its decision on the portion of the project that passes through Chino Hills.

The groups believe it should be feasible to make a decision as to the preferred option based on a preliminary engineering cost comparison of the various options on a more timely basis than the engineering studies called for in the ACR. Both organizations said a preliminary evaluation could be completed by November 2012, saving a year over the time required under the ACR.

The schedule – as currently set for the presentation of the required technical studies, subsequent hearings, briefings, and a decision – provides only two years to construct and complete the unfinished segments of the Tehachapi project and remain on schedule for planned energizing by 2015.

Further, the schedule provides only one year to construct and complete Section 8, composed of the important 500-kV sections, and remain on schedule for planned energizing in 2014.

“The city of Chino Hills believes that an underground design for the relevant portion of Segment 8A can be designed, approved, and constructed so as to avoid a delay in the overall completion of the TRPR (which has already undergone extensive delays due to factors completely unrelated to the Chino Hills routing controversy),” the city’s letter said.

“The city of Chino Hills … would welcome the opportunity to participate in the revision of the [ACR] schedule to accelerate the proceeding,” the letter said, noting that “The prompt adoption of such an option will benefit all ratepayers, as well as renewable generators and the community of Chino Hills.”

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