Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website
for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of Southern
California Edison's (SCE) proposed Downs Substation Expansion Project.
An Application for this project was submitted to the CPUC on December
(A.10-12-016). This site provides access to public documents
and information relevant to the California Environmental Quality
Act (CEQA) review process.
The proposed Downs Substation Expansion Project (Proposed Project)
includes the following components:
- Upgrading and expanding the existing Downs 33/12-kV Substation
to a 115/12-kV substation containing a 115-kV switchrack and approximately
1,000 feet of new access road (new driveway);
- Upgrading protection relays inside the Mechanical and Electrical
Equipment Room (MEER) at Inyokern, McGen and Searles Substations;
- Routing an existing 115-kV subtransmission line into and out
of the Downs Substation;
- Installing a fiber optic telecommunication system (including
58 miles of fiber optic telecommunication cable, generally located
aboveground on existing 115-kV poles with a few short segments
ranging from a few hundred feet to a few thousand feet placed
underground to allow interconnection to the Ridgecrest Service
Center and the Inyokern, McGen, and Searles Substations) to provide
communication circuits for the protection, monitoring, and control
of subtransmission and substation equipment; and
- As part of the fiber optic telecommunication system, replacement
of six (6) 115-kV subtransmission line poles along the Inyokern-McGen-Searles
No. 1 115-kV subtransmission line near the community of Trona
in San Bernardino County. No new access roads are planned for
installation of the fiber optic telecommunications line.
Regionally, the proposed Downs Substation expansion site would
be located approximately one mile west of State Route 178 and approximately
3.9 miles northeast of U.S. Route 395 in northeastern Kern County.
More specifically, the proposed Downs Substation expansion and the
routing of an existing 115-kV subtransmission line into and out
of the proposed substation are located at the southwest corner of
the intersection of Ridgecrest Boulevard and Downs Street in the
city of Ridgecrest, Kern County, California. The substation site
is bounded to the east by Downs Street, to the north by West Ridgecrest
Boulevard, and the closest roadways to the south and west are West
Church Avenue and South Mahan Street, respectively. The existing
Downs Substation encompasses approximately one acre of land within
the city of Ridgecrest; the proposed expansion of the Downs Substation
would require an additional 2.5 acres of a 4.6-acre parcel of SCE-owned
land adjacent to the existing Downs Substation.
The Proposed Project also includes the replacement of six 115-kV
subtransmission line poles along the Inyokern-McGen-Searles No.
1 115-kV subtransmission line near the community of Trona in San
Bernardino County. Additionally, the stringing of fiber optic telecommunication
cable along both the Inyokern-McGen-Searles No. 1 and No. 2 115-kV
subtransmission lines would be located in the city of Ridgecrest,
the unincorporated communities of Inyokern, Argus, and Trona in
the Counties of Kern and San Bernardino.
CPUC Application Review and Approval
The SCE Downs Substation Expansion Project was evaluated in accordance
with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A Mitigated
Negative Declaration (MND) was prepared to inform the CPUC and public
of the potential project impacts and available mitigation (information
on the MND preparation is provided below). The CPUC voted on November 29,
2012 to approve the SCE Downs Substation Expansion Project and Final
MND (Decision D.12-11-027) and a Notice of Determination
was submitted to the State Clearinghouse (SCH #2012011044). The
mitigation measures and applicant-proposed measures (APMs) described
in the Final MND were adopted by the CPUC as conditions of project
Construction & Mitigation
Mitigation Monitoring, Compliance, and Reporting Plan
Following CPUC approval, a Draft Mitigation Monitoring, Compliance,
and Reporting Plan (MMCRP) was prepared to ensure compliance APMs
and mitigation measures approved in the Final MND as was provided
to SCE for review and comment. The MMCRP provides guidelines and
standardize procedures for environmental compliance during project
implementation. The MMCRP procedures describe the reporting relationships,
the roles and responsibilities of the project's environmental compliance
team members, compliance reporting procedures, and the communication
protocol. The MMCRP will be provided here when finalized.
Notices to Proceed with Construction
As defined by the MMCRP, CPUC must issue a Notice to Proceed (NTP)
before construction can start. SCE will submit a formal request
for an NTP. On projects where there may be multiple work packages
or work sites, SCE may elect to request separate NTPs. Each separate
NTP request will be applicable to a defined segment or aspect of
the Project. CPUC will review the NTP request and the applicable
pre-construction requirements to ensure that all of the information
required to process and approve the NTP is included. CPUC may request
additional information or clarification as needed. Based on information
provided in the request for an NTP and its review, CPUC will issue
the NTP. NTPs issued by CPUC to date for the Downs Substation Expansion
Project are provided in the table below.
Notice to Proceed
||Downs Substation expansion only; a second NTP will
cover the remainder of the project at a later date.|
Construction is scheduled to start in November 2014.
Minor Project Changes
As defined by the MMCRP, at various times throughout project construction,
minor changes to the project, such as the need for additional or
revised workspace, are anticipated and common practice for construction
efforts of this scale and a Minor Project Change request would be
required for such activities. The CPUC Project Manager, along with
the CPUC EMs, will implement the Minor Project Change procedures
defined in the MMCRP to evaluate each proposed project change for
its potential for creating significant environmental effects to
determine whether supplemental CEQA review is required. No Minor
Project Changes have been submitted by SCE for the Downs Substation
Expansion Project to date.
Environmental Review Process
SCE filed a
Proponent's Environmental Assessment (PEA) with the Application
on December 29, 2010. This document provided a starting point
for the environmental review process conducted by the CPUC.
and PEA were deemed complete by the CPUC on May 2, 2011.
The CPUC has determined that an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative
Declaration (IS/MND) will be the appropriate CEQA document to be
prepared for this project.The Draft IS/MND was published on January 23,
2012 and the Final IS/MND was published on July 24, 2012.
Final Mitigated Negative Declaration
On January 23, 2012, the CPUC released a Notice of Intent to Adopt
a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Downs Substation
Expansion Project, showing that the Proposed Project, as mitigated,
would not have any significant effects on the environment.
The Draft MND underwent a public review period from January 23,
2012, through February 21, 2012.
On July 24, 2012, the CPUC released a Final MND for the Downs Substation
Expansion Project, showing that the Proposed Project, as mitigated,
would not have any significant effects on the environment. The Final
MND details the Proposed Project, evaluates and describes its potential
environmental impacts, identifies those impacts that could be significant,
and presents mitigation measures to avoid or minimize these impacts.
The Final MND can be viewed here.
An errata to the Final MND is provided here.
For Additional Information
To request additional information, please contact the CPUC, as
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA 94102
Tel. (415) 703-1956