The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and another agency are getting ready to write an environmental review on a southern California transmission project that will open up new pathways for renewable energy generation in the region.
BLM’s Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office intends to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report in cooperation with the California Public Utilities Commission in order to analyze Southern California Edison’s proposal for the West of Devers Upgrade Project (WOD UP) in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The project in part involves lands under BLM control.
A notice to be published in the July 1 Federal Register announces the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues. Scoping comments will be taken for 30 days from July 1.
The utility is proposing to upgrade and adjust about 48 miles of 220-kV transmission line within its West of Devers right-of-way corridor. In addition to the transmission line improvements, substation equipment at Devers, El Casco, Etiwanda, San Bernardino, Timoteo and Tennessee and Vista Substations would be upgraded to accommodate the project changes to transmission and subtransmission systems.
“Construction of WOD UP would facilitate the full deliverability of new renewable energy generation resources now being developed in eastern Riverside County, including the BLM’s Riverside East Solar Energy Zone into the Los Angeles area,” BLM noted. “The WOD UP would facilitate progress towards meeting California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard goals requiring utilities to produce 33 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2020. Large-scale renewable energy projects in eastern Riverside County play an important role in meeting California’s renewable energy goals, allowing for immediate and sizeable deployment, driving costs down, and taking advantage of the state’s best renewable energy resources. Additionally, these upgrades are required to comply with transmission reliability standards and will support integration of small scale electricity generation.”