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Edison proposes new power substation near Newberry Springs

Facility would deal with future desert electricity production

Pisgah power substation meeting:

Who: Hosted by Southern California Edison

What: A proposed power substation east of Newberry Springs

When: Thursday, Mar. 3, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Where: Percy Bakker Community Center, 9333 E Avenue, Hesperia

Why: Edison is seeking public input on the location of the proposed substation as well as routes for new power transmission lines.

NEAR NEWBERRY SPRINGS • Southern California Edison is proposing a new power substation east of Newberry Springs that will be used to transmit power from the proposed Calico Solar project to Southern California customers.

The station will be located in Pisgah — about 35 miles east of Barstow — and is expected to cover about 70 acres of public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, said Ken Spear, project manager for the proposed substation. Two locations have been proposed for the substation within a mile of the Calico Solar project, near Interstate 40. The station is not expected to go online until 2017, because approval from the California Public Utility Commission and the BLM is needed before it can begin construction. The project has an estimated cost of $750 million.

“We’re in the very early stages of putting it together,” said Spear.

Along with the substation, Edison is also planning to upgrade 67 miles of transmission line from the Lugo power substation in Hesperia to the Pisgah substation, said Spear. A public workshop will be held Thursday in Hesperia to  gather public input about suggested routes for the transmission lines, as well as locations for the substation.

The substation will be able to handle all expected power generation from the proposed Calico Solar plant and will also be able to accommodate future renewable energy projects in the area, said Spear. The Calico Solar project is expected to be 663.5 megawatts and should be able to power 350,000 homes when it is completed.

Spear said Edison has a large generator interconnection agreement with the Calico Solar project, which means that the utility company will provide the necessary upgrades on its system to receive and transmit the power to the power grid, but will not necessarily purchase the power for its customers.

K Road Power Holdings LLC is still looking for a power purchase agreement for the Calico Solar project, said Felicia Bellows, managing director of development for K Road.

Construction on tortoise fencing for the project — which will prevent threatened desert tortoises from entering the project area — should begin this August, with construction on the actual facility expected to begin in November, said Bellows. The first phase of the solar plant would require only a minor upgrade on the part of Edison and could be completed by 2012.

The Pisgah area has been suggested as one of the prime locations for solar energy development in the western United States and is currently undergoing the process of an environmental report that will fast-track future solar development on BLM land. Spear said the proposed solar energy zone designation was another reason the utility company wanted to build the power substation in Pisgah.

Spear said Edison is expecting to spend about $21.5 billion on renewable energy projects over the next five years, with about $5 billion spent on electricity transmission for the renewable energy projects.

For more information, visit www.sce.com/lugopisgah or call (760) 951-3237.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4122 or kjonas@desertdispatch.com


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