Friday, May 29, 2009

'Why not just go south?'

Bruce Ross, the editorial page editor at my former paper, isn't necessarily buying the line from the Transmission Agency of Northern California that to run power lines from would-be renewable energy sites in the Mojave Desert would be too much of a distance.

In responding to my story in this week's Capital Press, Bruce blogs:

Still, just what is the extra cost? Certainly, as part of the environmental impact report for the TANC project, it would be vital to give a serious look to that alternative and others. The proposed NorCal line might well be the best available option to meet the various new demands on utilities, but the whole point of the environmental process is to explore options and their effects in a transparent way. I look forward to that happening with this line. TANC hasn't made its case yet.

Oh, and I'll quote from the Phase 1A report, which eventually promises to explain the methodology of renewable-cost rankings but in the meantime offers this nugger of utility wisdom:

Foresight is required in the planning of transmission development for the purpose of exploiting renewable resources. If economically inefficient resources are targeted for development, then California may burden ratepayers with "stranded costs" to connect transmission to sub-par resources.

Obviously an expensive and inefficient project isn't TANC's goal, but it's a warning worth keeping in mind.

Meanwhile, TANC, whose board voted a week and a half ago to extend the comment period on its project, just got around to sending out the press release. Nice. And they wonder why people complain about the notice they give the public about their activities.

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