Utilities commission president asks for Powerlink OK

On Nov. 18, California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey released a proposed decision to approve the Sunrise Powerlink's southern route alternative without conditions.

Peevey said his proposed decision will make it easier for the 123-mile renewable energy "superhighway" to develop without delay and that the line is the best way to reach the state's goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020.

"Investors are lining up to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into developing the Imperial Valley's renewable potential, bringing high paying jobs to the region and clean energy to all Californians," Peevey said. "But before they can break ground they need to know that they will be able to move the energy to the market."

Peevey's proposal comes weeks after administrative law judge Jean Vieth claimed the line was not needed to meet California's renewable requirements and would result in "extensive" environmental damage and "significant" costs to ratepayers.

On Oct. 31, Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich proposed approving the southern route on the conditions of a compliance plan with San Diego Gas & Electric. The plan included requiring proof that renewable energy companies agree to use the line before it is built and that no contracts are signed for coal-powered electricity.

SDG&E had argued that the conditions were "unrealistic."

Peevey's proposal takes away those restrictions.

Now the commission will vote on the three proposed decisions: Deny the line entirely, build the Southern route with conditions or build the southern route without conditions.

The earliest the CPUC could vote is Dec. 18 in San Francisco.

   
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