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Surging issues over wind power

Controversial transmission line nearly complete

Posted: November 22, 2008 9:38 p.m.
Updated: November 23, 2008 4:55 a.m.
 
First in a two-part series

It's considered a major "green energy" achievement.

Electricity generated by a massive "wind farm" of giant windmills near Tehachapi will be carried through transmission lines to Southern California.

"It's the largest transmission of renewable energy in the country," said Don Johnson, Southern California Edison project manager.

Edison is also considering tapping into solar power sources in Tehachapi and the Antelope Valley, Edison spokesman Steve Conroy said.

Pushing the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is a state mandate requiring 20 percent of generated energy to be from renewable energy sources by 2010.

Currently, about 16 percent of all of Edison's power is from renewable sources, Johnson said.

But not everyone sees the rosy side of Edison's "green" project.

Residents along the path the transmission towers will take are up in arms over the plan.

So far, Segments 1, 2 and 3 of the project are approved for construction, Johnson said recently. The first segment involves the Santa Clarita Valley and the Angeles National Forest as a line connecting Santa Clarita to the Pardee substation in the Antelope Valley.

On Oct. 23, Edison received a special permit from the United States Forest Service to begin construction in the forest.

Construction began Nov. 12 and is expected to continue into fall 2009, Johnson said. Tower construction outside the forest in the areas along Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus began last spring and should be done by 2009.

Edison will install wires for several months after the towers are complete.

Tower construction is close to completion in Santa Clarita, Johnson said.

"They've actually started pulling some wires in from the Pardee substation heading east and northeast," Johnson said.

When completed, the project is expected to generate more than 4,000 megawatts of wind power during a continuous flow.

"It's a critical project for the region as well as the state," Edison spokesman Paul Klein said.

The utility has a 50,000-square-mile service territory that extends into several counties, Conroy said, and added: "The project will benefit all 4.8 million customers."

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