Tuesday, December 07, 2004

New lines planned to carry clean power

By Charles F. Bostwick, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Daily News:
LANCASTER -- Southern California Edison is proposing to run new 500,000-volt lines between west Lancaster, Valencia, Acton and Tehachapi to serve a huge expansion of Antelope Valley wind-energy farms.

Expected to cost $190 million to $250 million, the new lines would replace a lower-power line leading northeast from Santa Clarita, add to an existing power-line corridor from west Lancaster to Acton, and create a new power-line right-of-way north from Lancaster between 100th and 110th streets west.

"We are trying to minimize the impact by either building it within existing lines or by replacing existing lines," said Charles Adamson, Southern California Edison's project manager.

With a post-energy crisis state law ordering utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from "renewable" sources by 2017, state officials say the Tehachapi-Mojave area has the potential to grow from 600 megawatts of wind power to as much as 4,500, with another 400 megawatts in Los Angeles County.

The proposed new lines could carry 1,100 megawatts -- enough for about 500,000 to 1 million homes, though the variability of the wind means the turbines would usually be producing far less than the peak output.
Seventy miles of new very-high-voltage power lines: This is not an alternative, but simply an expansion of our current electrical system. Note also that 4,500 MW of wind power is a 200-400 square mile power plant, hardly an environmentally friendly "solution" and one that would produce (though rarely when needed) barely 4% of the electricity California uses. The proposed lines would not even be able to handle the surge of such a plant's occasional peak production.