EIS release triggers evidentiary hearing for Falcon Ridge upgrade in California

The October release of the final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Southern California Edison‘s (SCE) proposed Falcon Ridge substation upgrade will allow the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to move forward with an evidentiary hearing on the project application.

The CPUC put on hold a May hearing for the application pending issuance of the final EIS. The new hearing is set for Nov. 13.

The estimated $58.5m project includes construction of a new 66/12-kV distribution substation, to be called Falcon Ridge, and installation of two new 66-kV subtransmission source lines to connect Falcon Ridge to the existing Etiwanda 220/66-kV substation and Alder 66/12 kV substation. The new Alder 66-kV subtransmission source line would be about three miles long, and the new Etiwanta 66-kV subtransmission source line would be about nine miles long.

In the hearing, parties will discuss sufficiency of testimony for the application as well as SCE’s pending motion to strike certain direct testimony that it claims duplicates issues already reviewed in the EIS preparation process.

The CPUC released a draft EIS in September 2011.

The substation upgrade will ensure reliability in forecasted high-demand periods for Rialto, Calif., and surrounding areas, according to the application.

“Currently, the operating capacity of the Alder substation combined with the Randall substation is limited to 277 MVA under normal operating conditions,” SCE said in the application. “Electrical demand projections indicate that the two substations combined would exceed the maximum operating limit capacity in the peak season of 2014 given a 1-in-10 year heat storm condition.”

Additional to the substation and subtransmission facilities, SCE is requesting approval to build three underground 12-kV distribution getaways and install telecommunications facilities at the proposed Falcon Ridge substation and fiber optic cable on the subtransmission source lines.

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