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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has released an administrative law judge (AJL) proposed decision and a commissioner's alternate proposed decision regarding San Diego Gas and Electric Co.'s (SDG&E) proposed 150-mile Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project.

The proposed decision, sponsored by an ALJ, denies the Sunrise application, stating that the line is not needed to meet California's current renewable requirements and, if constructed, it could result in very significant costs to ratepayers and extensive environmental damage.

Among other things, the ALJ's proposed decision states SDG&E's service area will not experience a reliability need or shortfall until 2014, and the shortfall may be met more economically and more reliably with generation-based alternatives.

The alternate proposed decision sponsored by Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich approves - with conditions - the final environmentally superior southern route for Sunrise that is described in the final environmental impact statement. This route avoids Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and all tribal lands. The alternate proposed decision also concludes that Sunrise is not needed to meet California's current renewable portfolio standard, which requires 20% renewable energy generation by 2010. However, the decision does indicate that Sunrise will be needed to meet the state's greenhouse gas reduction goals by facilitating renewable procurement at 33% levels.

The alternate proposed decision finds that if Sunrise is used to deliver renewable power at 33% levels, it will generate over $100 million per year in ratepayer benefits. Thus, the alternate proposed decision requires that SDG&E prepare a Sunrise Compliance Plan for CPUC approval that will ensure that substantial amounts of Imperial Valley renewables will be delivered on the line. If SDG&E agrees to the condition, it will be permitted to engage in pre-construction activities prior to the CPUC's approval of its compliance plan, but it may not engage in any activities that could result in a material physical impact to the environment.

To read the entire decision, go to cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/hottopics

SOURCE: California Public Utilities Commission

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