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Massive Power Project Proposed For Southwest Riverside County ... Again

If constructed, the project would see 30 miles of overhead transmission lines stretching from Lake Elsinore, through the Cleveland National Forest, southward.

A project that proposes miles of high-power transmission lines strewn above Southwest Riverside County is in front of residents again.

Nevada Hydro Company held a public workshop Thursday at the Murrieta Community Center. It was billed as an informational session about Nevada Hydro's proposed Talega-Escondido/Valley Serrano 500 kV Interconnect project.

If constructed, the project would see 30 miles of overhead transmission lines stretching from Lake Elsinore, through the Cleveland National Forest, southward. The lines would carry a 1,500 megawatt power load from Riverside to San Diego counties.

The California Public Utilities Commission requires a public workshop before Nevada Hydro can file an application with the state to build the project. If it moves forward, it will mark to build the project.

Residents and environmental groups have opposed the project, but Nevada Hydro’s David Kates contends the transmission lines would strengthen the region’s power grid and be of particular benefit to San Diego County.

“It’s an island,” he said of San Diego’s “lack of connection” to the nation’s power grid. Kates said he believes San Diego Gas & Electric – the county’s primary utility – doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to ensure a consistent power supply to customers during peak periods or during emergencies.

The argument is something many Southwest Riverside County residents have long complained about: San Diego would gain from the project, but local benefit would be nearly nonexistent, they say.

Thursday’s four-hour workshop often turned raucous as residents from Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Murrieta, Temecula, and surrounding unincorporated areas sometimes blasted Nevada Hydro executives who were on hand.

Many residents made it clear they don’t want the project in their backyard. Concerns raised included worries about environmental issues to fears that private property could be taken by eminent domain to make way for the massive $650 million project.

Kates said land will not be taken and environmental worries are overshadowed by the benefits.

“The transmission lines are ugly and they go through the forest. I get that,” he said, arguing that the project would save Southern California ratepayers about $100 million annually by strengthening the grid and connecting San Diego Gas & Electric with Southern California Edison.

He contends the project would also bring jobs to the area.

In addressing fire concerns about the project, Kates said transmission lines like the one proposed incorporate safety features that automatically cut power when a line is severed.

Kates said the company will file an application with the CPUC as soon as possible, after it holds a more in-depth workshop in coming weeks to discuss the technical details of the proposed project. Kates did not have a timeline or a venue for the upcoming workshop but said the public will be notified and invited to attend.

Paulette Brown-Hinds was on hand Thursday working as a communications consultant for Nevada Hydro. She said notice of Thursday’s workshop was published in three area newspapers and approximately 5,000 mailers were sent to residents affected by the proposed project.

Kates said he knows local residents generally don’t favor the project, but cperhaps easier than the challenge ahead: As part of the CPUC application process, Nevada Hydro must demonstrate to the state that the project will provide economic benefit to the area -- and that’s proved elusive.

Editor's Note: to read more about Nevada Hydro’s proposal to build the separate LEAPS project that would see water pumped out of Lake Elsinore to generate power.

Constant Comment August 16, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Tom, let me enlighten you. For an example,there is a poster on here that has shared her full name, her picture, her pool, her business, her family & just lately, exactly where she lives. I actually fear for her because I think that is too much info to reveal about yourself & your family. I remember the Rebecca Schaeffer story & why anonimity is important now a days. Many of the posts on here are not for or against the article itself. Just an attempt to reveal one of the most nasty & vicious posters on here. Guess I don't have to mention her full name either.}~)
Constant Comment August 16, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Why do you think he supports the project? Just calling out the author on her BS ! }~)
Teller of Truth August 16, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Mr.Thomas Weasel, of course I'm not going to use my real name. I'm not a foolish man. Ask yourself why you want it? Planning on a midnight 'toilet paper' run? Don't worry about my nads so much......its kinda disturbing!
Teller of Truth August 16, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Why didn't YOU post your real name 3j? Kinda hypocritical there. I never said I was for or against this hydro project. My topic is calling out the fraudulent author here. If you re read all of her crap, you will soon find out that I am not the only one & it does go back quite a ways!
ADB Security December 05, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I thought this was a discussion about LEAPS?


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