By Mario Conde
The project that is proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric has obtained approval for the California Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Bureau of reclamation for construction of the Sunrise Powerlink, and construction is scheduled to begin this year. Before that can occur, the U.S. Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture, must approve a Record of Decision and Plan Amendment. Because of the delay of the USDA’s approval, SDG&E has requested the County send a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture requesting him to move forward with the recordation.
With the implementation of this project the County believes that the Imperial County can provide the nation with thousands of Mega Watts of clean, green renewable energy. The Board of Supervisors believes that Imperial County is rich in geothermal resources and our potential for solar generated electricity is endless.
The board believes that the Sunrise Powerlink will provide the adequate transmission to export this clean renewable energy and this project is the first step in providing the necessary electric infrastructure to replace fossil fuel generation with renewable energy that has no harmful greenhouse emissions.
“Imperial County is experiencing record high unemployment currently exceeding 27%” Chairman Louis Fuentes said. Fuentes said that County is counting on the expansion of the renewable energy industry in our region to provide new jobs, higher wages, economic development opportunities and a large tax base to fund the vital needs of the residents of Imperial Valley.
“Failure to approve and construct the Sunrise Powerlink would put several viable and needed proposed projects in jeopardy. These projects would have a tremendous positive impact on the Imperial County by expanding an industry in the Imperial County that will be second only to agriculture.” Fuentes said.