STATE OF CALIFORNIA
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

Southern California
Edison's Proposed
Downs Substation
Expansion Project

(Application A.10-12-016, filed December 29, 2010)

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 29, 2010 (A.10-12-016). The CPUC voted on November 29, 2012 to approve the proposed project (see Decision D.12-11-027) and a Notice of Determination was submitted to the State Clearinghouse. Construction of the Project is expected to begin Summer 2013. This site provides access to public documents and information relevant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process.

Background

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.

The Proposed Project has been stated by SCE to be necessary to serve increased electrical demand in the Electrical Needs Area (portions of the city of Ridgecrest and surrounding areas of unincorporated Kern County and San Bernardino County), as well as to improve system reliability and enhance operational flexibility. Construction would start in August 2013 and would last through May 2014 to meet an in-service date of June 2014, depending on CPUC approval. In accordance with the CPUC's General Order 131 D, approval of this project must comply with the CEQA.

Proponent's Environmental Assessment (PEA)

SCE filed a PEA with the Application on December 29, 2010. This document provided a starting point for the environmental review process conducted by the CPUC.

Environmental Review Process

SCE's Application 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 Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration

On July 24, 2012, the CPUC released a Final Mitigated Negative Declaration 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 IS/MND can be viewed here. An errata to the Final IS/MND is provided here.

Draft Initial Study/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 Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) can be viewed here.

The Draft IS/MND underwent a public review period from January 23, 2012, through February 21, 2012. A hard copy of the Draft IS/MND was available for review at the following repositories:

Ridgecrest Branch Public Library
131 East Las Flores Avenue
Ridgecrest, CA 93555

CPUC Energy Division
505 Van Ness Ave, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Comments should have been received in writing by 5:00 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (see "For Additional Information" below).

Public Informational Meeting

In order to help affected communities understand the Proposed Project and the Draft IS/MND and to explain how the public can participate in the CPUC's decision-making processes, the CPUC held a public meeting in Ridgecrest on January 30, 2012. This public meeting was an opportunity to ask questions about the content of the Draft IS/MND. While written comments may have been submitted during this meeting, there were no facilities to record oral comments.

For Additional Information

The CPUC, through its Environmental Review Team, is conducting an environmental review of the project. To request additional information, please contact the CPUC, as follows:

Eric Chiang
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA 94102
Tel. (415) 703-1956
Email: eric.chiang@cpuc.ca.gov
   

This page contains tables and is best viewed with Firefox or Internet Explorer. Please report any problems to the Energy Division web coordinator.

   
 
Project Home Page - CPUC Environmental Information - CPUC Home