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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Water and Power Commissioners has approved the final environmental document required to expand a critical transmission line that will enable LADWP to transport additional renewable energy - such as wind and solar power - from the Tehachapi Mountains and Mojave Desert areas to Los Angeles.

The board's action certified the final environmental impact report (EIR) and paves the way for building the Barren Ridge Renewable Transmission Project (BRRTP), LADWP says.

Crossing Kern and Los Angeles counties, the BRRTP will provide up to 2 GW of additional power transmission capacity to access vital wind and solar resources that are necessary for LADWP to meet California’s 33% by 2020 renewable portfolio standard. The project will also enable LADWP to meet the state’s emissions-reduction requirement and improve the reliability, diversity and flexibility of the region's energy supply.

The route approved for the transmission line under the EIR generally parallels those for LADWP’s existing transmission lines, and extends 76 miles from LADWP’s existing Barren Ridge Switching Station, located on Highway 14 about 15 miles north of Mojave, Calif., south to the existing Rinaldi Substation in the San Fernando Valley.

Part of the transmission project includes a new 12-mile section of line to be installed on existing structures from Haskell Canyon west to the Castaic Power Plant, situated on Castaic Lake. LADWP says the pumped-storage generating plant will allow it to integrate renewables while maintaining power-system reliability.

“We can use wind or solar power to produce energy that pumps water up to the reservoir and store it,” explains Aram Benyamin, senior assistant general manager for power. “Then, we release the water and use it to generate hydropower when that electricity is needed in Los Angeles.”

Construction of the transmission line is scheduled to begin in March 2013. More information on the project is available here.


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