Renewables Transmission Planning and Development

Transmission is to renewable energy resources what the transcontinental railroad was to opening up the West. We need to connect California’s renewable resource-rich regions—wind from Tehachapi, geothermal and wind from the Imperial Valley, concentrated solar power from the Mojave Desert, and to a lesser extent, bio-energy from the Central Valley—to the large coastal urban load centers of the state where it is needed. Making this vital connection will require a series of massive, multi-billion dollar investments in new transmission infrastructure. In conjunction with the California Energy Commission, we have been promoting a unique stakeholder collaboration project to expedite planning and development of vital transmission projects.

Recent Developments:

Jim Caldwell and Liz Anthony have been holding regular meetings and conference calls with colleagues from Renewable Northwest and the Northwest Energy Coalition about developing new market mechanisms and strategies to better utilize Pacific Northwest hydroelectric resources to meet California system reliability needs, including the evening ramp. CAISO is studying the economic benefits and costs of expanding north/south transmission lines in order to allow a greater volume of transfers between the Northwest and California as a way to reduce dependence on natural gas.

In the aftermath of the California Energy Commission’s 2017 decision to disapprove the proposed Puente power plant in Oxnard, Jim Caldwell has been working with Southern California Edison (SCE) on a proposed set of transmission upgrades and expansions to meet reliability needs in the Moorpark transmission sub-area. In its 2018 Transmission Planning Process, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is studying possible transmission expansions and upgrades to reduce Local Capacity Requirements and the need for gas-fired generation in disadvantaged communities.