SAN DIEGO – Opponents of the recently completed Sunrise Powerlink project said Tuesday they will continue their legal battle, even as the long-awaited line is already transmitting energy into San Diego.
“Our underlying lawsuits have not been resolved,” said Donna Tisdale from Protect Our Community.
Tisdale’s main legal challenge centers on the environmental review San Diego Gas and Electric completed prior to Sunrise Powerlink’s construction. Specifically, she contends reviews of the chosen southern option for the line were not done, a charge SDG&E denies.
Beyond that, Tisdale said that even if the line is operating, green energy projects planned along Powerlink will be contested as well.
“SDG&E took a chance and went ahead and built it,” Tisdale said. “It looks like they’ve succeeded. They’re the 500-pound gorilla in the room and it’s difficult to fight them.”
Sunrise Powerlink took five years to complete. It weaves through East County and was designed to give solar and wind power plants an avenue to pump energy into San Diego.
“There was a weakness in the area in transmission and this fills that weakness,” said Steven Greenlee from the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state power grid.
On Monday, a small fire started along the line near Alpine which was quickly extinguished. SDG&E is investigating the incident. Tisdale said the fire shows how Powerlink is unnecessary and dangerous.
“The arrogance and bald-faced lies these people tell. It’s shocking but not surprising,” Tisdale said.
SDG&E said Tuesday all proper environmental procedures were followed for the Powerlink project. It also believes the legal challenges will soon end.
California ISO said while Powerlink is intended to carry green energy along its lines, right now it is transmitting “a traditional mix of power we would normally think of” into San Diego.
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