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State Officials Slam Colossal Power Project Slated For Lake Elsinore

"The Commission cannot afford to squander its resources on applications, that … remain vague and speculative as to financing plan and indeed the project description itself.”

A massive project that would see miles of overhead power lines strewn across Lake Elsinore and the surrounding Cleveland National Forest got another setback Tuesday.

An administrative law judge denied an application from The Nevada Hydro Company for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for the Talega-Escondido/Valley-Serrano 500kV Interconnect Project (see the attached April 3 decision).

would see 32 miles of overhead power lines and 138 steel lattice towers cut across wild lands and rural communities in the local hillsides and Cleveland National Forest above Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and other surrounding communities. The lines would stretch southward to SDG&E's existing 230 kV Talega-Escondido transmission line in San Diego County, and northward to SCE's 500 kV Valley-Serrano transmission line in Riverside County.

The proposed project is tied to the controversial Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage project (LEAPS), which calls for pumping water from Lake Elsinore to a new dam on the crest of the Cleveland National Forest, then releasing that water to power turbines to generate electricity.

In order to move forward on the Talega-Escondido/Valley-Serrano 500kV Interconnect portion of the project, the California Public Utilities Commission required The Nevada Hydro Company to apply for the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. The application required that the company show a public need for the project based on economic, reliability, or renewable goals, or any combination of the three, according to CPUC documents.

In denying the application, the administrative law judge found that “despite 18 months of work, the application is not complete and does not conform to our requirements.”

The decision, which still needs to be voted on by the CPUC to become final, also determined that The Nevada Hydro Company will not have an easy time if it wants to apply for the certificate in the future. According to CPUC documents, the company’s application for a certificate had already been denied twice before. 

“… we impose a series of conditions that must be met if we are to consider an application for this project (or similar projects) in the future,” the April 3 decision stated. “The Commission cannot afford to squander its resources on applications, that … remain vague and speculative as to financing plan and indeed the project description itself.”

The April 3 decision also mandated that The Nevada Hydro Company pay any compensations and reimbursable contracts before it attempts to file a new application, and it must provide a $550,000 surety bond that will remain in place until all applicable parties are paid.

The Nevada Hydro Company’s proposed project is now estimated to cost over $650 million to complete and $25 million has been invested thus far, according to CPUC documents.

julian April 06, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Yes, I guess it becomes a no-brainer when we all agree.
Roberto April 06, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Yep, Nevada Hydro like 35 million sposed to 8 million dollar stadium is nothing but white collar crime. The corruption knows no bounds and white collar crime goes unpunished in Rail Road County.
Tonto April 06, 2012 at 01:44 AM
The rate payers might as well have flushed millions and millions down their toilets :(
Roberto April 06, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Like 10 million. That's only the rate payers money and doesn't include other agencies. These clowns would have a grand jury indictment if white collar crime wasn't sanctioned in Rail Road County.
Martha L. Bridges April 06, 2012 at 01:28 PM
It is true that demand for additional power comes with the development of all the inland valley areas, but it is also time to quit patching up the old grid with outdated technology and do the long term planning which includes alternate sources of power. That technology has matured and the cost has come down considerably in the last decade. California's and the county's building codes need major revisions and developers need to modernize building construction to include newer, greener technology. No new homes should be built in Southern California without energy efficient designs, materials and appliances that are now available - including solar systems to reduce or eliminate the need for power from the grid. We do not need to negatively impact our lake or endanger our National Forrest and other environmental treasures to meet the need for increasing demands for power. There are better solutions at hand and we should insist that they be utilized. As to Nevada Hydro and EVMWD, they have proven over and over again that they can’t be trusted to do the right thing for either their rate payers or the local environment. The EVMWD board consists of people whose priority is profit at any cost – with their customers footing the bill. As long as we continue to elect our water board representives from a group of want-a-be politicians that know little or nothing about water issues we will be faced with more squandered money and bad decisions. Vote them out.

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