XVI. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE
As described in sections VII., Biological Resources, and XIV., Cultural Resources, the project is not anticipated to have biological or cultural impacts. Mitigation measures included as a part of the project or as adopted and included herein are sufficient to reduce these potential impacts to a less than significant level.
The physical changes to the environment in the project area would not establish a disadvantage for the attainment of long-term goals within the area. The substation, 115 kV power line, and 21 kV distribution lines would be consistent with long term regional and area goals for establishing reliable power to support regional development as well as the industrial and commercial/office development contemplated in the San Jose 2020 General Plan for this area of San Jose. The substation site is acceptable for utility-related use and would not conflict with the City of San Jose’s primary goals and policies regarding site development and use. Long-term goals and policies related to energy resources are also included within the San Jose 2020 General Plan, Energy Element (City of San Jose, 1994). In general, the Element highlights the need for energy conservation. Project construction and operation would not conflict with the City’s energy-related goals as the substation and power lines would not prevent the implementation of energy conservation policies. PG&E, in coordination with the CPUC, also has established programs and incentives for conservation of energy resources. As discussed below under Checklist item XVI.c, the availability of electrical supply is considered growth accommodating. Therefore, implementation of the project would have no impact related to the achievement of short-term goals to the disadvantage of long-term environmental goals.
The proposed Nortech Substation and new power lines are designed to help meet forecast electric power needs in part of PG&E’s North San Jose Distribution Planning Area. The forecast electric load growth is due primarily to planned growth and development within that limited geographical service area. The project would accommodate planned growth by providing additional electrical power where the existing electrical capacity cannot meet projected future needs (PG&E, 1998 PEA).
Adequate electric service is needed to support already planned economic development and population growth in this area. Lack of electrical power capacity in this service area would cause service to deteriorate, with negative economic effects on industry and a decrease in reliability in residential power service. Adequate electrical capacity, by itself, is not normally sufficient to ensure or encourage local growth. Other factors such as economic conditions, land availability, population trends, and local planning policies have more direct effects on growth than does the availability of electric power. The additional power supplied through the North San Jose Capacity Project would accommodate rather than induce growth. No public or private projects are expected to be started solely as a result of construction and operation of the project.
The North San Jose Capacity Project is a small part of the regional electric power transmission system, which in turn is part of the larger statewide and interstate power generation and transmission system in California. Transmission line project planning processes, project-specific CEQA environmental reviews and project approvals for each important element of the power transmission system already have considered these projects’ direct impacts and their indirect, growth-inducing and cumulative impacts, which can include regional changes and impacts such as regional population growth and land use changes and basin-wide air and water quality impacts. Facilities such as part of the North San Jose Capacity Project represent the end-points for electric power transmission lines, and any potential indirect, growth-inducing and/or cumulative impacts caused by these substations have been implicit in prior environmental reviews for the transmission lines. (PG&E, 1998b)
The local industrial, commercial and residential land uses in the service area of North San Jose Capacity Project were established in the San Jose 2020 General Plan, which defined acceptable future land uses and evaluated the environmental effects, including any potential cumulative effects, of these future land uses. Construction and operation of North San Jose Capacity Project would result in localized environmental effects, as described in Sections I - XV, above, however these effects of the project would not be cumulatively considerable. Therefore, the cumulative impacts of the North San Jose Capacity Project would be less-than-significant.
As described in Section IX. Hazards, the North San Jose Capacity Project is not anticipated to cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, the project would have no impact related to adverse effects on human beings.
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