FOLSOM, Calif. – The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) Board of Governors gave approval yesterday, December 15, 2011, for Citizens Sunrise Transmission, LLC to become an ISO participating transmission owner. Citizens Sunrise is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens Energy Corporation, a Boston, Massachusetts based non-profit energy company founded in 1979 by Joseph P. Kennedy II.
As a part of joining the ISO, Citizens Sunrise will turn over control of its portion of the Imperial Valley segment of the Sunrise PowerLink to the ISO to operate. The remaining portion of the 117-mile transmission project will already fall under ISO control when it is completed because it is owned by San Diego Gas & Electric Company—an existing ISO member transmission company. Completion of the $1.8 billion Sunrise PowerLink is expected in mid 2012.
The 500 kilovolt transmission line is expected to add to the grid 1,000 megawatts of clean, green electricity from Imperial Valley solar, wind and geothermal resources. The abundant green power is being sought after by utilities to help meet California’s 33% renewables portfolio standard. Citizens Sunrise’s portion of the line will go from the existing Imperial Valley Substation to the Imperial County line.
“Citizens Energy is an absolutely terrific and innovative company and we enjoyed working with them during the application process. We welcome the independent transmission builder to our family of grid members,” said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “We are pleased to hear the non-profit independent builder intends to use the transmission revenue generated from its portion of the line to weatherize low- income homes in Imperial County, providing economic benefits to this area of California.”
The ISO now manages more than 35 percent of the wholesale electricity flowing in the western interconnection that includes 14 states along with portions of Canada and Mexico.
The Sunrise PowerLink transmission project was identified as needed through the ISO transmission planning process and was approved by the Board in August 2006. Citizens Sunrise, through a development agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric Company, has an option to lease half of the Imperial County segment of the transmission project.
Upon execution of the transmission control agreement and the Sunrise PowerLink becoming operational, Citizens Sunrise will become an ISO participating transmission owner subject to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepting its transmission owner tariff and transmission revenue requirement. Citizens Sunrise has advised that it intends to file its transmission owner tariff and associated transmission revenue requirement with FERC immediately.