In an exemplary victory of positive force, San Diego Gas & Electric Co started the construction of its Sunrise Powerlink project. To mark the victory, SDG&E hosted a catered lunch, which was attended by California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Although protestors gathered outside voicing their concern over the negative impacts of the project, the presence of the Governor provided a good deal of morale boosting to the high-voltage, power transmission line project that underwent a long battle.
SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink project is unique in that it is going to bring electricity produced solely from solar, wind and geothermal generators to users in San Diego County. The project also promised to ensure overall reliability of the electric grid.
The project began in 2005, but encountered lots of protests in every step. The project required permits from multiple state, federal and local agencies before construction could begin. Each approval was fought by protestors who demanded and received a route change, and others who wanted the whole project stopped.
But the sympathizers of the project highlight the positive points about the project.
“(The Powerlink) is the first to be designed specifically to bring renewable energy from areas where it can be efficiently produced to coastal areas where it can be used,” said the CEO of the utility, Jessie Knight Jr., in a statement.
Moreover, the project found a great supporter in none other than Schwarzenegger himself. The Californian Governor praised the Powerlink.
“We are well on our way to being an example for the rest of the nation,” Schwarzenegger said at the event.
While SDG&E employees and local elected officials lunched on acorn squash rings, lemon-herb chicken and ginger swordfish brochettes, protestors stood on McCain Valley Road just outside the property, waving signs accusing the line of creating a "desert of death."
San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob is one of the strong opponents of the project.
"This is not a done deal," she commented at a press release expressing her discontent about the project.
Last month, San Diego Gas & Electric announced that it signed a 25-year power-purchase agreement with a subsidiary of CSolar Development. The companies will procure up to 130 megawatts of renewable power and the solar PV energy will come from a proposed facility in Imperial County.Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jaclyn Allard