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.

Roberto April 04, 2012 at 10:32 PM
"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." REPLY We the stakeholders have spent 10 million dollars of our water and sewerage through higher rates. This other 25 million is more tax dollars being used to force power lines through our pristine National Forest. Riverside County is full of white collar criminals. The uneconomical-unfeasible LEAPS project is nothing but a bait and switch tactic to bring in th power lines of which neither project is benificial to our communities.
NO! April 04, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Kill the project and move on. We don't want to add power lines in the forest and don't need it either.
Diana April 04, 2012 at 11:15 PM
How many times do we have to kill this project before it dies. It was my understanding months ago that a letter was drafted to those in charge that this ain't happening, we want no part of this, the answer is nooooo, blah blah, blah and yet here it is again are you flippin kidding me????????
Tonto April 05, 2012 at 12:43 AM
This project is perfect for Tuscany Hills and Canyon lake. They should find less opposition there also :)
Martha L. Bridges April 05, 2012 at 12:51 PM
This project would be an environmental disaster in any location. While this news of the commission's rejection of the project plan is very welcomed, it is disappointing that it invited Nevada Hydro to amend or augment their plan and resubmit it in the future. What we need is for these public agencies to slam the door shut on this project, and bolt the door against any chance of resurrecting it again. EVMWD and Nevada Hydro have already invested millions of dollars in this project, and have come under considerable criticism for squandering that money. Perhaps they feel the only way to justify that investment mistake is to bring the project back again and again until it is approved in some form or another. Let’s track their actions carefully and be ready to defeat any new scheme they might come up with next. We don't want this project in our community or our National Forest...in any form whatsoever.
Ken Mayes April 05, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Another instance when people bitch if hung with a gold rope. A project along these routes is inevitable like it or not. Nevada Hydro appears not to be the company to do it but it will be done at some point. All one has to do is look at the current electricity grid for the state to realize that with increasing demand for power and the shifting of locations for power generating stations from the coast to inland areas that we have large gaps in the supply routes. Take last summers major outage, all it took was one screw up in Arizona to shut down most of Southern California because there was no way to re-route the power. Like it or not it will come, I for one say, better through a forest where almost no one ventures than through the middle of the valley. With San Onofre shut down its going to be a long hot summer and just maybe some of you people will realize the need for a better supply route system.
julian April 05, 2012 at 03:00 PM
This was a bad idea. This was not a generator of power in the mode of a traditional power plant ie., hydro electric dam, nuclear power plant, etc. This was a weird convoluted scheme to leverage the differential between Day Time power costs and Night Time power costs into profits. The plan was to pump water from the lake up into the mountains above at night when power was cheaper and then let that water flow down through hydro-electric generators during the day creating electricity that they could then sell at peak prices. Because it takes electricity to pump that water up to the top of the mountain - no new power was generated. I was just stored for later deployment at a more profitable time. The only thing generated was profit by leveraging the differential between low night time electricity rates (when they pump the water) and high day time rates (when they let the water flow down through the hydro-electric generators). Profits that were going to be sent to an out of state entity. The route for the power lines wasn't the issue for me. It was a plan to exploit our natural lake for profit in a plan that added no new power but just exploited costs difference between night and day power costs.
Roberto April 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I thought you didn't live here? The power lines are a fire hazard, cancer hazard and aesthetic detriment to our community. The Lake level lateral movement is an environmental disaster.
julian April 05, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Just a property owner going back to the 1930s. When did you get here roberto?
LBV Collins April 06, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Wow! When Roberto, Tonto, Diana, Julian, AND Martha all agree it’s bad… then you KNOW it’s bad! ;)
Roberto April 06, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Just a property owner going back to the 1930s. When did you get here roberto? REPLY: Let me put it this way, I've owned my home here longer than you have been alive. I'm Just a property owner and I just live here. And you? Where do you live? You apparently don't care about the power lines and don't live here.
jill smith April 06, 2012 at 01:07 AM
This is pathetic idiots like harvey ryan and williams and the rest of the idiots on gave millions to two men that are scammers. These two men are probably even amazed at the millions thrown at them for this boondoggle project. People wake up this is the water boards fault no one else. Grover Trask allowed this thank God hes gone.
jill smith April 06, 2012 at 01:21 AM
What a joke there is no nevada Hydro co. Its two men that saw how stupid the water board is that scammed millions of dollars from them then threatened them with law suits and scammed millions more. The water board then on your dime wined and dined on your money on trips to DC stayed in expensive Hotels including Morris all in the name of business in regards to Nevada Hydro. What a party they had. I Saw the bills the amounts and it sickened me They thought nothing of spending 3000 dollars in three days on travel expenses which they refused to itemize. It was a waste of our money. Maybe good old Phil and christine and guglo LUGI thought they could make money off this. These people should be in jail but the old DA protected them. Go away NH I know you count on these idiots for more money but to many people are watching
julian April 06, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Can't you answer a simple question? When did you get here? I have three generations of roots here. Stop pulling the native card on me.
jill smith April 06, 2012 at 01:27 AM
All I can say is I hope the new DA is not corrupt I could not believe the things that were allowed to happen under Trask. I met the two men that call themselves Nevada Hydr Co ones a loud mouth midget tha talks like he is on speed the other a lawyer that stands in the back of the room during a meeting and cowars and refuses to answer questions.
julian April 06, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Thanks for posting. Good information that's missing from the article.
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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