If the recent power outages in the eastern region of the United States remind us of anything, it should be the need to modernize and update the aging power grid. This is essential not only for reliable, continuous delivery of electricity, but also the need to support the inclusion of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Decentralized approaches to energy production may also serve as one tool in the effort to combat these outages.
In San Diego, California, a new massive transmission line (referred to as the Sunrise Powerlink) was recently completed with the aim of bringing in renewable energy from the Imperial Valley, which is particularly rich in terms of potential renewable energy development. According to the press release, the project cost nearly $2 billion and will eventually bring 1,000 megawatts (or 1 terawatt) of power, enough energy to power 650,000 homes.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which oversaw the project, currently provides 20% of its energy from renewable sources. With a goal of reaching 33% by 2020, this transmission line will be essential to meeting that target. “Over the past three years, SDG&E has signed eight renewable agreements for more than 1,000 MW of solar and wind power from projects in Imperial County; that green energy will be transmitted across the Sunrise Powerlink.”