Saturday, August 15, 2009

Where to Site Power Lines for Renewable Energy in California

California is going to need new power lines. The state is a leader in generating clean energy, with an ambitious goal of getting 33% of its electricity from renewable source by 2020. That's about 115 TW of clean energy, based on a University of California at Davis projection of baseline demand for electricity that year (pdf).

The existing infrastructure doesn't have the capacity to carry all that energy to consumers. New transmission lines will have to be built.

The problem is, just about everyone except utilities objects to new power lines. We've written about tensions between homeowners and power companies in the past -- in both Northern and Southern California. In fact, a proposed new 600-mile power line that would have carried renewable electricity to parts of central California was canceled last month.

Now a new report by the state's Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, a group consisting of utilities, state agencies and other parties, points out places where new power lines are needed most and will cause the least environmental damage. It takes into account areas where large renewable power installations have been or will be proposed.
But it stops short of recommending actual routes for power lines.

It looks like a step in the right direction.

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