Large-scale deployment of renewable energy, in the form of wind farms or utility scale photovoltaics, can cause new challenges for utilities in terms of necessitating new transmission lines. SDG&E has met one of those challenges with its new Sunrise Powerlink line. The line will allow the utility to transfer power from the Imperial Valley to the major southern Californian population hub.
The project, which has been labeled a "green energy superhighway", has been said by SG&E as being vital in helping the utility and state to reach its green energy goals. SG&E has signed PPAs for one gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy over the last several years. This includes the 200 megawatt (MW) Mount Signal utility-scale photovoltaic power plant in the Imperial Valley, that is being developed by 8minutenergy, and will be built by Abengoa.
Construction on the Sunrise Powerlink began in 2010 and the transmission line was fully energized on June 17.
"While the Sunrise Powerlink will serve as a major conduit for renewable energy in the near future as those solar and wind projects are constructed and put into service, this transmission line is providing this region with real benefits right now," said SDG&E’s CEO Jessie Knight. "With a major power plant in Southern California currently out of service, the Sunrise Powerlink is playing a major role in boosting electric reliability and alleviating potential energy shortages."