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Power Line Gets Green Power on Grid and Brings Economic/Reliability Benefits

FOLSOM, Calif. -- The California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) Board of Governors today unanimously approved the Sunrise/Greenpath transmission project proposed jointly by San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and Citizens Energy. The project will provide a vital “electricity on ramp” from the southeastern corner of the state to San Diego and the rest of the California grid. The combination 500-thousand/230-thousand volt transmission link will also provide access to hundreds of megawatts in renewable generation, bringing much-needed green power onto the grid.

In approving the Sunrise/Greenpath project, the California ISO Board found it will lower costs for San Diego consumers and provide significant reliability benefits to San Diego, Imperial Valley and Southern California in general by bolstering a weak link in the transmission network. The Board also found the Sunrise/Greenpath project will help deliver hundreds of megawatts of solar, geothermal and wind power proposed for development in Imperial County. Getting the green power on the grid will help utilities meet the state’s requirement to procure or generate 20 percent of their power supply from renewable resources by the year 2010.

“As an independent grid planner, the California ISO takes a critical eye to every transmission project proposed -- making sure the investment is sound and responsible,” said ISO Board Chair Mason Willrich. “We agree with our staff assessment that Sunrise/Greenpath provides a comprehensive solution that will strengthen the grid, provide economic and reliability benefits as well as access to renewable sources. The transmission grid can continue to perform as well as it did during last week’s incredible heat wave only with the addition of projects like this.”

The California ISO Board approval is a significant step in the overall approval process for new transmission lines, but the Sunrise portion of this project also needs approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. The Greenpath portion needs approval from its local regulatory authority. These reviews will include analysis of environmental line-routing issues.

The California ISO is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation charged with managing the flow of electricity along California’s open-market wholesale power grid. The mission of California ISO is to safeguard the reliable delivery of electricity, and ensure equal access to 25,000 circuit miles of “electron highway.” As the impartial operator of the wholesale power grid in the state, the California ISO conducts a small portion of the bulk power markets. These markets are used to allocate space on the transmission lines, maintain operating reserves and match supply with demand in real time.

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