SCE asks regulators for clarification on TRTP construction

Southern California Edison (SCE) has asked California state regulators to confirm it can resume construction on a portion of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) near the city of Chino Hills, Calif., while parties continue to discuss the possibility and practicality of undergrounding a portion of the project (Docket No. A-07-06-031).

In a motion filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Dec. 18, SCE asked that the regulators clarify the parameters of a partial stay of construction, and “confirm that because the Chino Hills State Park alternatives have been removed from consideration, the partial stay now applies only to work on the portion of Segment 8A that would be affected by any underground option currently under evaluation by the Commission.”

SCE’s motion requested that all areas of Segment 8a that are not affected by potential underground construction be released from the partial stay.

“This includes all work outside of the city of Chino Hills, as well as work within Chino Hills’ city limits that would not be affected if the commission were to order SCE to place the transmission line underground through Chino Hills,” SCE said in its motion.

The city of Chino Hills has requested that the CPUC order SCE to place underground a 3.5-mile section of the five miles of the TRTP that traverses a portion of Chino Hills.

If granted, SCE’s motion would be the latest in a series of revisions of the scope of work the utility is able to undertake.

On Nov. 10, 2011, the CPUC ordered SCE to halt work on Segment 8A, the portion of the project through Chino Hills, when it granted a partial stay of construction in response to a request contained in the city’s application for rehearing on the project.

The scope of that partial stay was narrowed on March 22, 2012, when the CPUC allowed SCE to resume work on a portion of the project when it granted the utility’s motion “to stay only that portion of Segment 8A potentially implicated by the as yet unresolved issues raised by Chino Hills.”

Work resumed on portions of the project approximately two miles west of Chino Hills’ city boundary.

SCE’s previous motion requesting the narrowed scope of the stay was uncontested. Calls seeking comment from the city of Chino Hills on the current motion were not returned by press time Dec. 21.

In his July 2 assigned commissioner’s ruling, CPUC President Michael Peevey removed from consideration all of the Chino Hills State Park alternatives, in part because “discussion at the prehearing conferences has confirmed no party actively supports such development,” he said in his ruling.

The 250-mile, 500-kV TRTP will be capable of moving up to 4,500 MW of renewable energy from the Tehachapi, Calif., area to population centers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in California. The $2.2bn project is scheduled to be in service in 2015, according to Peevey’s July 2 ruling.

SCE has called the Tehachapi project “a critically important, high-voltage transmission line, the timely completion of which is essential for California’s progress toward its aggressive renewable energy goals.”

California’s renewable portfolio standard calls for 33% renewable energy by 2020.

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