San Diego, July 26, 2012 — San Diego Gas & Electric and local officials gathered to officially inaugurate the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.
The dedication ceremony was held at SDG&E's new Suncrest Substation, an electric facility that is a key component of the Sunrise Powerlink.
The 117-mile, 500-kV Sunrise Powerlink will carry clean energy from developing solar and wind farms in California's Imperial Valley to San Diego and enable SDG&E to increase the amount of renewable power it delivers to 33 percent by 2020, a key California environmental initiative.
SDG&E has signed eight power contracts for more than 1,000 MW over the past several years for solar and wind energy in Imperial County, solidifying the company's commitment to expand its renewable portfolio to 33 percent. Two of these renewable projects are now under construction.
After a comprehensive five-year environmental review and permitting process, SDG&E broke ground on the project in December 2010. By reducing the original construction timeline from 24 months to just 18 months, SDG&E was able to complete the project in time to help meet summer power demands in the region.
On June 17, the transmission line was fully energized and control was officially transferred to the state's transmission grid controller, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO).
The Sunrise Powerlink consists of more than 110 miles of overhead 500kV and 230kV transmission towers and transmission line, six miles of underground 230kV cable and a 40-acre, 500kV transmission substation. During construction, SDG&E crews adhered to some of the most rigorous environmental requirements ever placed on a transmission line project in California history.
To protect the environment and reduce the number of access roads, SDG&E used helicopters to set nearly three-quarters of the tower structures. It took more than 30,000 flight hours to complete the extremely challenging aerial construction; all without a major safety incident. Construction spanned nearly 5 million work hours. In the process, SDG&E recorded an impressive safety record given the scale of the construction project.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles.