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PUC approves phases of Edison project 

State utility regulators Thursday approved more sections of Southern California Edison Co.’s $1.8-billion Tehachapi renewable power transmission project as well as a 4.5% rate increase for Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The Edison project is designed to allow the flow of renewable power – mainly from wind farms in the Tehachapi area northeast of Los Angeles – and is key to the utility’s push to increase the amount of renewable power delivered to its 4.7 million electricity customers.

The Tehachapi project has 11 phases that by 2013 will have the potential to bring 4,500 megawatts of renewable power to the state power grid. The California Public Utilities Commission on March 1 approved the transmission line’s first phase, which is for 300 megawatts. Phases 2 and 3, which the PUC approved Thursday, are for 400 megawatts.

One megawatt is enough power to serve about 750 average homes in California.

Phase 1 is to be operational by December 2008. Phases 2 and 3 are to be operational by March 2009.

The Tehachapi project is “critical for meeting the renewable portfolio standard goal for Edison,” Commissioner Dian Grueneich said in the meeting.

That goal is for California utilities to generate at least 20% of the power they deliver to customers by 2010 from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and small hydroelectric projects.

Phases 4 through 11 of the project will go to the PUC this summer, an Edison spokesman said. Southern California Edison is a subsidiary of Rosemead-based Edison International.

The commission also voted Thursday to allow San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric to raise rates by $213 million this year and by $125 million annually from 2008 through 2010 as it ramps up investments in its power and natural gas systems. The utility also gained the right to collect $35 million in rates related to plans to refuel its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

From Times Wire Services


16 March 2007

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