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Energy generator might go it alone on transmission line

New transmission lines Imperial Irrigation District plans to build based on financing by a group of renewable generation developers could be delayed.
The lines may be delayed but not derailed, David Kolk, IID assistant general manager, said.
IID’s energy transmission expansion to the San Diego and Los Angeles areas is a $250 million project of solar, geothermal and wind generation that is funded by a group of 15 renewable generation developers, of which Kolk previously informed board members about.
But at Tuesday’s regular meeting, the project was faced with a minor delay when one of the group of 15 questioned the dollar figure IID allocated for the 1,250 megawatt project. That is enough energy to power the cities of Anaheim and Riverside together, Kolk explained.
He added, that IID, a public power company saves ratepayers money by not passing on wheeling charges to them. These are the costs of transmitting power over IID’s lines. It is somewhat like a toll motorists pay to use interstate highways, John Pierre Menvielle, an IID director said.
Because this one developer questioned the cost allocation IID determined for their lines they have devised a back-up plan to bypass IID lines and instead use the state’s Independent System Operator lines which provides energy transmission for the rest of the state except Imperial County, Sacramento and Los Angeles, Kolk said.
He also said, that because ISO charges the ratepayer wheeling costs, they can offer generation developers a guaranteed 14 percent rate of return.
“The IID doesn’t want any generation developers to bypass our transmission lines,” Kolk said. “But from a generator’s point of view you like the ISO model.”
Neither way is necessarily correct but IID’s goal is to protect the ratepayer by keeping rates to a minimum, Kolk stressed.
“My fear is (the energy developer) will create a domino effect on the other 14,” Stella Mendoza, IID board president said. But so far there is no indication they were committed to bypassing the IID system.”
The best response to dissuade the developer opting for an alternative would be to build the lines within IID’s budget and on schedule, Kolk said. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 and if feasible, sooner, he said.