Update: Cal-ISO board approves 2013-2014 transmission plan

The California ISO’s (Cal-ISO) board of governors on March 20 unanimously approved the 2013-2014 transmission plan as revised on March 12, including 31 transmission solutions representing $2.17bn of investment.

The approval did not include the Delaney-Colorado River transmission project in the approval.

“Our board asked that we hold the Delaney to Colorado River project in order to do another study that’s going to focus more on the Imperial Irrigation District so we can see what impact their plans have for transporting renewable energies from their area to the statewide grid,” a spokesperson for the ISO told TransmissionHub. “They didn’t approve a project that would inhibit what IID was doing or vice-versa. They just wanted a more holistic look of what plans were and that way we can get a better idea of what’s really needed.”

The project could be added as addendum to the 2013-2014 transmission plan, the spokesperson said. In order for that to happen, the project has to be approved before the end of the year. “They’re still working on timing but somewhere maybe in the fall” the board could approve the project, the spokesperson said.  

If the project isn’t approved before the end of the year, it could be pushed into the next planning cycle, the 2014-2015 transmission plan.

2013-2014 transmission projects approved

With a vote of 4-0, the board of governors approved 28 reliability-driven transmission projects, representing $1.7bn of investment; two policy-driven projects, representing $135m of investment; and one economically-driven project, representing $338m of investment.

Of the 28 reliability projects, six have costs greater than $50m and a combined cost of approximately $1.29bn, and 22 cost less than $50m each, totaling $409m.

The board also indicated that two areas required further study, the potential need for transmission reinforcement in the San Francisco peninsula and the potential economic benefits of an Eldorado-Harry Allen 500-kV transmission line addition in light of NV Energy’s (NYSE:NVE) participation in the ISO’s energy imbalance market.

“In addition, the SONGS early retirement has shifted power flow patterns in the San Diego and LA Basin areas such that the amount of deliverability for generation in the Imperial Valley is significantly reduced,” the ISO said. “We have discussed the issue with stakeholders, including the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission and have agreed to study solutions in the 2014-2015 planning cycle.”

Two projects are in the service territory of Southern California Edison (SCE) and represent $626m of investment; 11 projects are in San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) territory and represent $584m of investment; 14 projects are in Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) territory and represent $486.4m of investment; and one project is in Valley Electric Association’s territory and represents $100m of investment.

SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX), SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), and PG&E is a subsidiary of PG&E Corp. (NYSE:PCG).  

The six reliability projects with costs of over $50m each are:

  • Mesa Loop-in – Looping the Vincent-Mira Loma 500-kV transmission line into the existing Mesa Substation, and upgrading the substation to include a 500-kV bus;
  • Install Dynamic Reactive Support at San Luis Rey 230-kV Substation – Adding synchronous condensers at the San Luis Rey Substation to provide voltage support to the transmission system in the San Onofre area;
  • Imperial Valley Flow Controller – Installing a phase shifter or back-to-back HVDC flow control device at the Imperial Valley substation to manage flows between the CFE and ISO systems;
  • Artesian 230-kV substation and loop-in – Upgrading the existing Artesian substation to 230-kV and looping in the Sycamore-Palomar 230-kV line (TL23051) to provide a new source into the 69-kV system
  • Midway-Kern PP #2 230-kV line – Reconductoring and unbundling the existing Midway-Kern PP 230-kV line into two circuits and looping one of the new circuits into the Bakersfield substation;
  • Wheeler Ridge Junction Station – Building a new 230/115-kV substation at Wheeler Ridge Junction and converting the existing Wheeler Ridge-Lamont 115-kV to 230-kV operation.

The two policy-driven projects are:

  • a 300 Mvar SVC at Suncrest
  • a Lugo-Mohave series capacitor and related terminal upgrades

The projects eligible for competitive solicitation are:

  • Imperial Valley flow controller (if HVDC is selected as the preferred technology)
  • Estrella 230/70-kV substation
  • Wheeler Ridge Junction 230/115-kV substation
  • Spring 230/115-kV substation near Morgan Hill
  • Suncrest 300 Mvar dynamic reactive support
  • Miguel 500-kV voltage support


About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.