Natural gas pipeline proposal to enhance safety and reliability

Source: San Diego Gas and Electric

San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Co. asked CPUC for approval of the "Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project" to construct a 47-mile natural gas pipeline, which will implement new pipeline safety requirements.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) jointly asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval of the "Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project" to construct a 47-mile natural gas pipeline, which will implement new pipeline safety requirements, as well as increase the reliability of the clean natural gas the companies deliver daily to customers.

The proposed gas pipeline, which is included in SDG&E's CPUC-approved Pipeline Safety and Enhancement Plan, would replace the transmission role of an existing gas pipeline that by law must be either pressure tested or replaced. The Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project would build on SDG&E's long history of safely delivering natural gas to its customers and would be constructed with state-of-the-art technology, including automatic shut-off valves, advanced leakage detection and advanced communication technology. Along with these added safety features, the pipeline will be tested and inspected in accordance with SDG&E's pipeline integrity program. SDG&E meets or exceeds all state and federal pipeline safety regulations for operations and maintenance and has a rigorous training program for employees, as well as community and first responder training.

"From hot water and cooking to electric generation and clean transportation, natural gas is a key part of our daily lives.  In addition to enhancing the safety of the natural gas system in our community," said Jimmie Cho, senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity for SDG&E and SoCalGas, "the Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project would also bring added reliability by upgrading the backbone of our system, and provide greater resiliency so we can continue to meet our customers' changing energy needs."

The San Diego region relies primarily on a single natural gas transmission pipeline, which provides approximately 90 percent of SDG&E's natural gas capacity.  The remaining 10 percent is delivered by a smaller pipeline, which was installed in 1949 and by law must be pressure tested or replaced. The new pipeline would replace the transmission function of the 1949 line, minimize dependence on a single pipeline and modernize the system.

Having a reliable natural gas delivery system is also critical to achieve the company's and state's sustainability efforts today and in the future as more intermittent solar and wind power is incorporated into the local energy mix. Today, one-third of the electricity SDG&E delivers comes from renewable resources.  Natural gas plays an important role in the integration of these clean energy sources, and provides the area's power plants with a consistent, reliable source of fuel to meet customers' needs.

The proposed natural gas pipeline would begin near the Riverside County line and continue south near the Interstate 15 corridor approximately 47 miles and connect to an existing pipeline on Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego County.  After analyzing several possible routes, SDG&E proposed a route that primarily follows existing streets to minimize cost, environmental impacts and impact to private properties. 

The CPUC will determine the final design, construction, and route location after a thorough environmental review.  SDG&E has requested CPUC approval in 2017 in order to achieve a pipeline in-service date of 2020.

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