- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Chino Hills residents and officials set to battle towers

CHINO HILLS – The fight in this city to take down 200-foot towers will continue into the new year.

Chino Hills officials said the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is the most significant thing their city will be dealing with in 2012, especially come January.

The California Public Utilities Commission told Southern California Edison to stop construction on its expanded power line project last month and ordered it to present “feasibility, cost and timing” for five alternative routes by Jan. 10.

“It’s been a frustrating fight,” Mayor Art Bennett said. “We have been engaged with this for the longest time and when the power poles started to be put up over the last six months that mobilized the community. Once the monstrosity started to appear on the landscape, everyone realized the horrible impact it was having on the city.”

The project is being installed within Edison’s right-of-way from Chino Hills’ western border near Tonner Canyon, through the city and eventually into Riverside County.

Approved by the CPUC in 2009, the $2.1 billion project is expected to carry 500 kilovolts of wind-generated power through
its lines.

The high-voltage transmission poles and towers are being built to meet the state’s 33 percent mandate to generate more sustainable energy and is expected to be complete in three years.

“Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is the first major transmission project in California being constructed to deliver renewable power from remote, renewable-rich resource areas to the population centers of southern California,” Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Klein said.

“As requested by the California Public Utilities Commission, SCE is preparing testimony on alternatives or solutions to the current approved route for the transmission line, which will be filed with the commission on Jan. 10, 2012.”

For the past four years, the city has fought Edison, with a lawsuit, arguing the easements in the city are too narrow for the expanded power corridor. The city’s battle with Edison has cost $2.4 million.

In October, city officials OK’d another $100,000 in legal fees available to help in their battle.

City officials have said they want Edison to create an alternate route through the state park or underground the lines – anything else would be unacceptable, Councilman Ed Graham said.

“I have no idea what Edison is going to propose on Jan. 10,” Graham said. “They’re supposed to come back with an honest assessment … I’m weary of what they’re going to say, and based on past experiences they’re going to want to keep those towers where they are.”

As a city, Graham said they need to be able to react quickly to whatever Edison does come up with.

“I think we’ll get a resolution about halfway through the year,” he said. “It’s going to cost a lot of money for Edison to stand down and for them it’s all about time and money.”