The CPUC has approved Southern California Edison’s request to construct Segments 4-11 of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) in order to increase access to new renewable energy. This brings the total of new transmission approved by the CPUC for the state’s investor-owned utilities to more than 500 miles, primarily in five major lines carrying 9,000 megawatts (MW), in the past three years with an infrastructure investment of more than $4.5 billion.
The project approved is the main portion of the 11 segment TRTP, which will provide access for up to 4,500 MW of renewable energy generation, primarily wind from the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Kern County, and deliver it to Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
Previously, the CPUC approved Segments 1-3 of the TRTP, which will deliver approximately 700 MW of the total TRTP carrying capacity.
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The CPUC authorized Southern California Edison to co-fund feasibility studies of a California integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant with carbon capture and storage.
Edison will commit up to $17 million to the Phase I feasibility studies associated with a facility known as the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project. Edison is also allowed to fund up to $13 million in Phase II studies to further examine the permitting, engineering, and economics associated with this project, if the Phase I feasibility studies demonstrate that further studies are warranted.
The HECA facility would provide low-carbon electricity within California by gasifying non-conventional fuel resources (primarily petroleum coke from California's oil refineries or, as needed, blends of petroleum coke and other solid fuels) to produce hydrogen for electricity generation through an IGCC plant and capture the CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery.
HECA would be a 250 megawatt facility in Kern County and would be a first-of-a-kind project designed with technology elements that are unlike any project under development.
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $308 million to support the HECA project.
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The CPUC, in its ongoing efforts to bridge the digital divide and boost economic development, conditionally approved two grants in December from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).
A grant of $19,294,717 was approved for the Digital 395 Middle Mile Project of the California Broadband Cooperative (CBC). The amount granted represents 19 percent of the total project costs of $101,494,218 and is contingent on approval for an 80 percent matching grant from the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program stimulus portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The CBC will not be reimbursed by the CASF until the CPUC reviews the expenses associated with the project.
The CBC Digital 395 project would consist of a 448 mile, 10 gigabit high-capacity fiber optic middle mile/backhaul route along U.S. Highway 395 from Barstow to Topaz Lake at the Nevada state line to bring high-speed Internet broadband to underserved communities and anchor institutions in Mono, Inyo, eastern Kern, and northwest San Bernardino Counties of California's eastern Sierra region.
The CPUC also approved a $166,911 grant from the CASF to bring high-speed Internet broadband services to underserved areas of south eastern Lassen County through the Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications (PST) Last Mile project. This grant, which represents 10 percent of the total cost of the project, is also contingent upon approval for 80 percent matching grants from the federal broadband stimulus portion ($7.2 billion) of the ARRA.
The PST Last Mile project would deploy fixed wireless networks using a combination of licensed 2.5 GHz and 3.65 GHz WiMAX frequencies and 700 MHz and 900 MHz frequencies to deliver high-speed broadband services to 3,994 households and 453 businesses in underserved communities surrounding Doyle, Herlong, Janesville, Milford, the Sierra Army Depot in Lassen County, and Susanville. PST would use 700 Mghz spectrum, which is particularly effective at penetrating densely wooded areas and concrete structures and buildings.
On December 20, 2007, the CPUC established the two-year, $100 million CASF to provide 40 percent matching infrastructure grants to broadband providers willing to put up the matching 60 percent of funds and to serve the nearly 2,000 California communities that are currently unserved and underserved by broadband.
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