STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website for the environmental review for the proposed construction of the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) East County (ECO) Substation Project located in southeastern San Diego County, California. SDG&E submitted an application to the CPUC on August 10, 2009 (Application A.09-08-003). The proposed project is subject to review under both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This site provides access to public documents and information relevant to the CEQA and NEPA review processes.
BLM Tule Wind News Release
On October 25, 2011, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) clarified the Tule Wind Project public process in a news release. The Tule Wind Project does not amend BLM’s Eastern San Diego County Resource Management Plan, and the Plan has already designated the area as suitable for wind development. Therefore, a 30-day protest period and concurrent 30-day Governor’s Consistency Review upon release of the Final EIR/EIS is not appropriate.
To help understand the proposed project and explain how the public can participate in the CPUC’s and BLM’s decision-making process, CPUC and BLM held two public informational meetings, including one at the Jacumba Highland Center located at 44681 Old Highway 80, Jacumba, California 91934 on January 26, 2011, at 7:00 p.m., and another at the Boulevard Volunteer Fire Department located at 39223 Highway 94, Boulevard, California 91905 on February 2, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
To find out how you can participate in the Permit to Construct Proceeding for the ECO Substation Project, please register your interest by contacting the public advisor office:
Administrative Law Judge's Prehearing Conference
The Administrative Law Judge held a Prehearing Conference for the ECO Substation Project on Friday, February 18, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in the San Diego State Office Building, 6th floor, Courtroom 1-6003, 1350 Front Street, San Diego, California.
SDG&E filed an application for a Permit to Construct the ECO Substation Project with the CPUC and an application for a Right-of-Way (ROW) Grant from the BLM. The proposed ECO Substation Project will cross approximately 1.5 miles of land managed by BLM. The CPUC and the BLM have developed and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (completed on December 14, 2009) that will direct the preparation of a joint Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the ECO Substation Project. The CPUC, as the lead agency under California law, and the BLM, as the federal lead agency, have prepared a Draft and Final EIR/EIS to comply with CEQA and NEPA. The CPUC will evaluate the environmental impacts of the proposed ECO Substation Project in accordance with CEQA and the BLM will evaluate the project in accordance with NEPA.
The ECO Substation Project, as proposed by SDG&E, includes the following major components:
The proposed ECO Substation Project would provide an interconnection hub for renewable generation along SDG&E´s existing SWPL 500 kV transmission line. In addition to accommodating the region´s planned renewable generation, the project would also provide a second source for the southeastern 138 kV transmission system that avoids the vulnerability of common structure outages, which would increase the reliability of electrical service for Boulevard, Jacumba, and surrounding communities. The ECO Substation Project would provide interconnection capability at three voltage levels, which would provide renewable generators the option to connect at a voltage level that is appropriately sized for their project.
The primary component of the project, the ECO Substation, is situated approximately 0.5 mile north of the United States (U.S.)–Mexico border and 0.5 mile west of the Imperial County border.
In addition to the ECO Substation Project, the CPUC and BLM have determined that the Tule Wind Project, as proposed by Tule Wind, LLC (a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, Inc.), and the Energia Sierra Juarez Generator-Tie (ESJ Gen-Tie) Project, as proposed by Energia Sierra Juarez U.S. Transmission, LLC, are so closely related to the proposed ECO Substation Project as to be considered “connected actions” under NEPA and “whole of the action” under CEQA. Current plans for the Tule Wind Project would tie this project into the proposed Boulevard Substation rebuild component of the ECO Substation Project. As proposed, the ESJ Gen-Tie Project would connect to the ECO Substation 500 kV or 230/138 kV yards component of the ECO Substation Project. These three projects are collectively referred to as the Proposed PROJECT. In addition, the proposed Invenergy and SDG&E Campo Wind Project, as well as the Manzanita Wind Project and Jordan Wind Project, which would connect to the Boulevard Substation Rebuild, are viewed as reasonably foreseeable future projects. The CPUC and BLM have determined that these three wind energy projects are sufficiently developed to analyze impacts where feasible. Therefore, for purposes of this EIR/EIS, the Campo, Manzanita, and Jordan wind energy projects are qualitatively evaluated at a programmatic level because sufficient project-level information has yet to be developed. The proposed Campo, Manzanita, and Jordan wind energy projects will still require project-specific environmental review and evaluation under all applicable environmental regulations once sufficient project-level information is developed. By including these nascent wind projects as components of the Proposed PROJECT, it allows the lead agencies to further consider broad impacts, mitigation, and consequences of the ECO Substation Project specifically, and the Proposed PROJECT as a whole.
The project location map depicts the location of the ECO Substation, Tule Wind, and ESJ projects, as well as the location of the Campo, Manzanita, and Jordan wind energy projects. This map also depicts ESJ Wind Project components in northern Baja California, Mexico, as potential biological, visual resource, and fire impacts within the U.S. that could be related to or caused by this project are addressed in the ECO Substation, Tule Wind, and ESJ Gen-Tie Projects EIR/EIS.
These projects are analyzed within the same environmental document and are described below.
Tule Wind Project
The proposed Tule Wind Project, consisting of up to 128 wind turbines in the 1.5 to 3.0–megawatt (MW) range generating up to 201 MW of electricity, would be located in the McCain Valley in southeastern San Diego County, California. In addition to wind turbines and associated generator step-up transformers, the Tule Wind Project would include the following components:
For public safety, permanent fences would be erected around the collector substation, meteorological towers, O&M facility, and the equipment storage area.
This project requires a Record of Decision from BLM and a Major Use Permit from the County of San Diego. The County of San Diego could choose to either rely on the CPUC/BLM environmental document to meet their CEQA requirements for its discretionary action under CEQA in consideration of issuing a Major Use Permit (Major Impact Service Utility), as portions of this project are within the County's jurisdiction, or amend, supplement, and/or prepare additional documentation to meet its environmental compliance needs.
ESJ Gen-Tie Project
As proposed by Energia Sierra Juarez U.S. Transmission, LLC, the ESJ Gen-Tie Project would have the capacity to import up to 1,250 MW of renewable energy generated in northern Baja California, Mexico, to the existing SWPL Transmission Line in southeastern San Diego County, California. The selected route would interconnect with the proposed ECO Substation and would be constructed on three to five 150-foot lattice towers or 170-foot steel monopoles, extending south from the point of interconnection for less than 1 mile to the U.S.-Mexico international border. In addition, approximately 4 miles east of the ESJ Gen-Tie site, a new access route (150 feet by 20 feet) is proposed from Old Highway 80 to an existing well site. Both the access route and the well site are owned by the Jacumba Community Services District. The EIR/EIS addresses the gen-tie line including any potential impacts to the U.S. associated with wind turbines constructed in Mexico.
This project requires a Presidential Permit (PP-334) from the United States Department of Energy and a Major Use Permit from the County of San Diego. The County of San Diego could choose to either rely on the CPUC/BLM environmental document to meet its CEQA requirements for its discretionary action under CEQA in consideration of issuing the Major Use Permit (Major Impact Service Utility) for this project, or amend, supplement, and/or prepare additional documentation to meet its environmental compliance needs.
Campo Wind Project
SDG&E proposes to construct and operate approximately 106 turbines capable of generating 160 MW of electricity on its reservation lands. The project would be located south of the Tule Wind Project and west of the Boulevard Substation on the Campo Indian Reservation. Construction of the project is expected to occur over a single phase. Turbines (approximately 450 feet tall from ground to tip of the fully extended turbine blade) would be located on available ridgelines on the reservation. In addition to the 160 MW of generating capacity proposed for this project, the Campo Tribe has requested that an additional 140 MW of generation be analyzed in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ NEPA review of the project for future development purposes. The proposed Invenergy and SDG&E Campo Wind Project would connect with the Boulevard Substation Rebuild component of the ECO Substation Project.
Manzanita Wind Project
The Manzanita Tribe proposes a project capable of generating up to 57.5 MW, which could include up to 25 wind turbines depending on the turbine size selected. These wind turbines are proposed to be located on the same ridgeline as the existing Kumeyaay Wind facility. Turbines are proposed to be approximately 414 feet tall from ground to tip of the turbine blade fully extended. The Manzanita Wind Project would connect with the Boulevard Substation Rebuild component of the ECO Substation Project.
It is expected that the Campo and Manzanita wind energy projects would develop a switchyard for both facilities on non-tribal lands and a new 138 kV transmission line would be constructed along the existing ROW of the 69 kV transmission corridor that currently connects to the existing Boulevard Substation. The new 138 kV transmission line would interconnect with the proposed Boulevard Substation Rebuild component of the ECO Substation Project.
Jordan Wind Project
The developers of the Jordan Wind Project have completed a preliminary wind energy assessment to construct and operate 40 2.3 MW turbines (total generating capacity of 92 MW) west of Boulevard in unincorporated San Diego County. The towers of the proposed wind turbines would be approximately 260 feet tall (height from ground to tip of fully extended blade would be approximately 430 feet). As proposed, construction of the project would occur between February and October 2013, and commercial operations are scheduled to begin in November 2013. The preferred point of interconnection for the Jordan Wind Project is the Boulevard Substation Rebuild component of the ECO Substation Project.
SDG&E's proponent's environmental assessment (PEA) for the ECO Substation Project was submitted August 10, 2009, and is available here.
The EIR/EIS team has submitted data requests to the applicants and other entities for specific information during preparation of the EIR/EIS. Those requests and the applicants’ responses are available online:
Technical Studies prepared for the ECO Substation, Tule Wind, and ESJ Gen-Tie projects and used in preparation of the EIR/EIS are available online in the following links:
The Scoping Report is available here (March 23, 2010). Due to an oversight, letters received from the Defenders of Wildlife and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were not published in the March 2010 Scoping Report. These letters, received on January 28 and February 3, 2010, are published in their entirety in Appendix G as Volume 3 (addendum).
Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
The Final EIR/EIS was published October 14, 2011.
The Draft EIR/EIS was released for public review on December 24, 2010, for a 54-day public review period ending February 16, 2011. The Draft EIR/EIS public review comment period was subsequently extended from February 16, 2011, to March 4, 2011.
The CPUC voted on June 21, 2012, to grant SDG&E a permit to construct the ECO Substation Project.
On March 16, 2012, the assigned Commissioner (Ferron) issued a ruling amending the proceeding schedule to provide for the issuance of a proposed interim decision resolving EIR certification to be followed at a later date with a final proposed decision considering project approval. On April 19, 2012, the CPUC voted to certify the Final EIR.
On May 17th, 2012, the Administrative Law Judge issued a proposed decision that would grant SDG&E a permit to construct the ECO Substation Project. The proposed decision will be considered at the June 21, 2012 Commission business meeting.
Reports issued by the CPUC, reports on construction progress, and reports issued as part of the Mitigation Monitoring Program can be found by clicking on the following link:
The CPUC, through its environmental review team, is conducting an environmental review of this project. To request additional information or to be added to the mailing list, please contact us by email, fax, or phone as follows:
The CPUC's project manager is:
Lisa Orsaba, CPUC Project Manager
The BLM's project manager is:
Brian Paul, BLM Project Manager