California ISO green lights 30 transmission projects

Folsom, Calif., March 27, 2012 — The California Independent System Operator Corporation Board of Governors unanimously approved the 2011/2012 Transmission Plan, which identified 30 transmission projects as needed to maintain grid reliability.

The plan also affirms, for a second year, that previously approved major transmission projects remain sufficient to meet California's goal of using renewable resources to supply 33 percent of power use by 2020. ISO analysis shows approving additional green transmission at this point could potentially lead to overbuilding and stranded investments.

The California ISO is committed in evolving its planning processes to identify and approve the least cost options that enhance grid reliability. This effort is made possible by collaborating closely with the California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission.

The energy agencies conducted research and analysis that identified renewable-rich, remote areas of California where new transmission upgrades would likely occur. This aided the grid planning analysis.

The ISO 2011/2012 Transmission Plan is the result of a 15-month process in which the ISO and its stakeholders undertook a comprehensive study of California's grid and generation needs.

The plan assesses whether additional transmission is needed to: 1) maintain power grid reliability; 2) enable policy-driven resources (i.e., clean energy delivery); and 3) relieve transmission bottlenecks to reduce costs. Project investments approved total $691 million.

Development of next year's plan is already underway and will ascertain the level of flexible generation capacity to meet the changing operational needs of the grid as more and more renewable power is added to the system.

Traditional natural gas plants provide flexible capacity which is essential in balancing fluctuations of wind and solar power as well as supporting and maintaining local area demand.

The California ISO operates the state's wholesale transmission grid, providing open and non-discriminatory access supported by a competitive energy market and comprehensive planning efforts.

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