Chino/Chino Hills: Renewable Transmission Project Update

BY K.P. SANDER

trtp tower chino

A brand new TRTP tower getting its finishing touches on Edison Street, just west of Central Avenue. (Photo Courtesy: KP Sander)

Chino/Chino Hills – The Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) has been in the works for a while now, with construction anticipated to be completed in 2016. The objective is to deliver electricity from new wind farms in the Tehachapi area to Southern California Edison customers as well as the California transmission grid, all in an effort to meet the State’s renewable energy goal of 33 percent by the year 2020. Ultimately, TRTP will be able to deliver up to 4,500 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power approximately three million homes.

The industry standard for electricity distribution is through overhead power lines, and the majority of the TRTP project is being completed in this fashion. Due to the costs of construction and repair, 500 kV transmission lines are rarely, if ever, constructed underground.

In a first-of-its-kind project, Chino Hills was granted an undergrounding proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission on July 11, 2013. The Decision stated that the burden imposed on the City by the overhead lines was unfair and contrary to its community values. That Decision also ordered the removal of overhead lines already in place in a 3.5 mile section of the TRTP right-of-way in Chino Hills to be replaced with underground cabling.

This undergrounding is a very complex project, the cost of which will run about $224 million. This amount will be tacked on to the over $2 billion budget of TRTP, ultimately passed on to utility ratepayers. While the amount sounds exorbitant, the City of Chino Hills analyzed that it would net only $7.03 for each household over the life of the project.

The most recent updates in the Chino and Chino Hills area included the use of helicopters to facilitate the stringing of transmission lines to the massive towers. During the period of Nov. 10 to 16, SCE also completed grading, trenching and demolition work in the right-of-way corridor, as well as surveying, staking, the clearing of vegetation, and installation of fencing.

Up next will be demotion work at the eastern transition station, located between Pipeline Avenue and the Chino Valley Freeway (71). Some of the work will be completed at night in order to reduce construction noise impacts to local businesses.

SCE is committed to ensuring public safety and minimizing inconveniences during construction. They recommend closing all doors and windows facing construction in order to reduce dust and noise. Covering pools and vehicles will also provide benefit. Watch for informational mailers and door hangers for construction activity in your area.

For additional information, call (877) 795-8787, or email trtp@sce.com.