(Application Number: 97-04-043)
Name and Address:
Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue, Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102-3298
||Contact Person and
|4.||Project Location:||Town of Los Gatos (see Figure 1)|
||Project Sponsor's Name
and Electric Company
P.O. Box 7442
San Francisco, CA 94120
|6.||General Plan Designation:||Light Industrial|
|7.||Zoning:||Controlled Manufacturing (CM)|
|8.||Description of Project:|
Introduction, Purpose and Need for the Project
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is proposing to build a 230 kV substation, referred to as the Vasona Substation, in Los Gatos, California (PG&E, 1997a, 1997b). Under General Order No. 131-D of the Public Utilities Commission of California (CPUC), PG&E must apply for a Permit to Construct the proposed facility. General Order No. 131-D requires compliance with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.) to support the CPUC's decision on the Permit to Construct. This Initial Study is the required CEQA document for the proposed project.
Los Gatos is located approximately seven miles southwest of San Jose in Santa Clara County. This substation is proposed to meet expected electrical load growth occurring in the Santa Clara Valley including the Los Gatos area and to ensure that PG&E can adequately and reliably supply the area's future demand for electrical energy. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) provides electrical power services in the South De Anza and West San Jose area which encompasses the City of Saratoga, Town of Los Gatos, Town of Monte Sereno, City of Campbell, southern and western parts of the City of San Jose and the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains (from Loma Prieta to Steven's Creek Reservoir). In providing these services, PG&E currently operates four substations, referred to as Saratoga, Los Gatos, El Patio, and Hicks substations. Figure 1 shows the electric service area the proposed Vasona Substation would serve.
According to the PG&E Proponents Environmental Assessment (PEA), activity and growth in the South De Anza and West San Jose area have been susceptible to economic trends. The recent trends indicate an upswing in the local economies fueled by strong performance by high technology companies throughout the Silicon Valley. A potential growth area exists along the Highway 85 corridor, and more specifically, near Highway 17, Los Gatos Boulevard and Winchester Boulevard.
The expected electrical load growth is the sole reason for installation of the Vasona Substation. The capacity of the existing electric distribution system in the area is 349.2 megawatts (MW). PG&E's (1997b) forecasts of load growth project a 1998 peak summer area load of 375.2 MW and an area deficiency of 26 MW (7.4%). This projection includes block loads of 3 MW from the Valley Medical Hospital, 5 MW from the Campbell Industrial Park and an annual growth rate of 3.84 MW from residential and commercial uses in the area. The project's purpose is to provide facilities that will prevent the projected deficiency in electric power loads. According to PG&Es PEA, the ability to provide load transfers from PG&E's Saratoga, Los Gatos, El Patio, and Hicks Substations to accommodate the expected growth would soon be exhausted. The use of the existing 230 kV transmission line capacity to serve the proposed substation is sufficient to serve the South De Anza and West San Jose area for the foreseeable future.
Information in this section is taken from PG&E's Application (1997a) and Amendment to the Application (1997b) for a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission to construct the Vasona Substation. The Town of Los Gatos is located approximately seven miles southwest of downtown San Jose. The project site is located on a 3.2-acre (120,032 square-feet) site near the northern boundary of the Town of Los Gatos (Figure 1). According to PG&E the site was purchased in 1973 in anticipation of building a substation to accommodate the projected electric load growth in this area. The proposed site is owned by PG&E and the existing Metcalf-Monta Vista 230 kV transmission line runs through the proposed site. The proposed site is bordered by Winchester Boulevard to the west, a property development with a commercial office building to the south, the Charter Oaks Circle residential condominium complex to the east, and the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District Administration Offices to the north (Figure 2). The site is bisected by PG&E's Metcalf-Monta Vista 230 kV transmission line. Other land uses in the vicinity of the project site include the Elk's Lodge, across and uphill of Winchester Boulevard southwest of the proposed site.
The proposed site is flat and is mostly vacant, with one temporary trailer and a small shed structure located on site. The area on the north side of the property is currently being used as a staging area for PG&E's contract tree trimmers with no immediate plans for relocation. The contract tree trimmers consists of approximately 12 workers with four to five trucks. No servicing of vehicles or equipment and no wood chipping occurs on site. No waste is generated or disposed of on site at present.
The proposed substation at full build out is planned to be a remote-controlled, two- transformer bank, low profile facility occupying an area approximately 250 feet by 150 feet and would require maintenance inspections once a month (Figure 3). Development of the site for the substation would involve the following phases:
Phase Development 1
Site Improvement including minor regrading, resurfacing, paving,
laying of foundations, and construction of the sound wall addition.
Initial substation equipment installation and transmission line
modifications including installation of a transformer bank, bus
structure, switchgear, and replacement of wood poles with tubular
steel poles; coincident with this phase would be the under grounding
of two distribution circuits.
Line/Substation testing, conversion and energizing station including
testing and conversion to new lines and project clean-up.
4 Future addition of the second transformer bank.
The first three phases would require approximately four months to complete. Electrical service interruptions to customers in the area are not expected during the construction of the substation because PG&E plans to reroute electrical power on its transmission system to ensure continuous service to the service area.
All construction equipment, vehicles, personnel and staging areas would be accommodated within the fenced portion of the proposed substation site. Access to the substation would be from an existing entrance at the north side of the property along an existing driveway at Winchester Boulevard and adjacent to Santa Clara County Fire Protection District office. Contingent on CPUC action, PG&E plans to begin construction in December 1997 and requires approximately four months to complete construction. The following is a general description of the construction activity that would take place on site.
Surrounding Land Uses and Setting:
The proposed site is bordered by Winchester Boulevard to the west, a property developed with a commercial office building to the south, the Charter Oaks Circle condominium complex to the east, and the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District Administration Offices to the north (Figure 1). The site is bisected by PG&E's Metcalf-Monta Vista 230 kV transmission line. Other land uses in the vicinity of the project site include the Elk's Lodge, across and uphill of Winchester Boulevard southwest of the proposed site. The existing Metcalf-Monta Vista 230 kV transmission line runs through the proposed site.
agencies whose approval is required
(e.g., permits, financing approval, or participation agreement)
Pursuant to State Law the California Public Utilities Commission is the eminent permitting authority for the project. CPUC General Order No. 131-D establishes that local jurisdictions acting pursuant to local authority are preempted from regulating electric power line projects, distribution lines, substations, or electric facilities constructed by public utilities subject to the CPUC's jurisdiction. Therefore, the Town of Los Gatos does not have discretionary permitting authority over the substation project. PG&E would submit information materials to comply with applicable Town ministerial permits, including: building permits, grading permits, and encroachment permits (including construction-related traffic plans).
CPUC General Order 131-D encourages public utilities like PG&E to consult with local government agencies regarding land use matters and seek to resolve disputes with those agencies. If PG&E and the local jurisdiction are unable to reach an agreement on land use matters, the CPUC will set a hearing on the matter within 30 days after receiving formal notification from either party to the dispute.
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED
The environmental factors checked below would be potentially affected by this project, involving at least one impact that is a "Potentially Significant Impact" as indicated by the checklist on the following pages.
(To be completed by the Lead Agency.)
On the basis of this initial evaluation:
Decision-Making Support Branch
California Public Utilities Commission
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