On November 20, 2009, the California Public Utilities Commission (“California PUC”) approved Southern California Edison Company’s (“SoCal Edison”) amended petition to build a 128-mile, 500-kV portion of the Devers-Palo Verde 2 (“DPV2”) project. That line will connect the Devers Substation, near Palm Springs, to a proposed midpoint switchyard, near Blythe. SoCal Edison also will build a 42-mile, 500 kV line between the Devers Substation to the Valley Substation in Riverside.
In January 2007, SoCal Edison filed the original petition, which included transmission lines from Romoland, California to the Palo Verde area west of Phoenix, Arizona. SoCal Edison submitted a modified petition to end the line at the proposed Midpoint switchyard near Blythe, California. SoCal Edison modified its petition because the Arizona Corporation Commission blocked the project from bringing the hub into their state in May 2007. In February 2008, SoCal Edison sought advice on how to proceed with the DPV2 project (see February 29, 2008 edition of WER), but it is not certain if SoCal Edison will submit another application in Arizona. The Department of Interior announced in September that the DPV2 project’s federal land permitting would be fast-tracked as part of an effort to accelerate renewable energy projects (see October 12, 2009 edition of WER).
The California PUC approved the new application, finding that the project was necessary to connect renewable generation to the grid. According to the PUC, DPV2 will be of particular help to the Riverside East Competitive Renewable Energy Zone which includes the Blythe area. The new line will connect up to 7,800 MW of solar energy generation. The new lines also will reduce congestion in the Department of Energy’s Southwest National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor by supplying an additional 1,200 MW of power to Southern California.
SoCal Edison has projected the new lines will have a maximum cost of $536.6 million; however the California PUC directed SoCal Edison to file an advice letter on updated cost estimates. DPV2 is expected to be in service in 2013, but the project must still be approved by the California Independent System Operator.