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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management have released the final environmental documents required to expand a critical power transmission line needed to access renewable energy resources in the Tehachapi Mountains and Mojave Desert areas.

The proposed Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project (BRRTP) will provide about 1.1 GW of additional power transmission capacity to access vital wind and solar resources that are necessary for LADWP to meet the state's 33% by 2020 renewable portfolio standard.

The project will also help meet state legislation that requires reductions in fossil-fuel emissions.

“This project is absolutely critical to delivering additional renewable energy to Los Angeles,” says Ronald O. Nichols, general manager at LADWP. “World-class renewable wind and solar energy are located right here in Southern California. The challenge is finding a viable transmission route to access it. We have worked hard to identify a route that addresses community and environmental concerns while meeting our goal, and we believe we have found that route.”

The BRRTP is necessary to accommodate new wind and solar projects in the Tehachapi Mountains and Mojave Desert that are in various stages of planning and development, LADWP says, adding that the project will also enhance transmission capacity to improve reliability and diversify the region's energy supply.

The BRRTP will span approximately 75 miles from the Mojave Desert in Kern County south to the San Fernando Valley. It will extend another 12 miles west to the Castaic Power Plant, a pump-storage generating facility, where renewable energy can be stored until needed to meet utility customer power needs.

Key components of the project include the following:
  • Expanding the existing Barren Ridge Switching Station, located about 15 miles north of Mojave;
  • Building a new switching station in Haskell Canyon, located just north of Santa Clarita;
  • Constructing a new 230 kV transmission line from the Barren Ridge Switching Station to the proposed Haskell Canyon Switching Station;
  • Installing a 12-mile, 230 kV line on existing structures from Haskell Canyon to the Castaic Power Plant; and
  • Installing larger-capacity conductors between the Barren Ridge Switching Station and the Rinaldi Substation.
LADWP has worked collaboratively with local communities, federal agencies and elected officials to design the best possible route with minimal environmental impact, beginning with informational meetings in 2007.

The LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners will consider the certification of the final environmental impact statement and environmental impact report on Sept. 18. Members of the public will have an opportunity to address the board during the meeting, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PDT at 111 N. Hope St. in Los Angeles.

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