The Riverside Transmission Reliability Project will be the backbone of the city’s continued growth and development.
Submitted by Edison International
By David Song ENERGIZED by Edison Writer
Riverside is a city on the rise. With a population of over 300,000, it is the 12th-largest city in California and the 58th largest in the nation. It is home to a vibrant downtown, the historic Mission Inn, a thriving arts and culture scene, several universities and a diverse and innovative economy.
Riverside needs a reliable and resilient electric system to keep up with its growth and development. That is why Southern California Edison, in partnership with Riverside Public Utilities, needs to build the Riverside Transmission Reliability Project. This new 10-mile, double-circuit 230-kilovolt transmission line will connect RPU’s new substation to two existing SCE substations in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
The project will provide several benefits to RPU, which provides electric service for Riverside residents. Enhancing reliability and redundancy through a second connection to the regional grid will reduce the risk of outages like the one that affected the entire city in 2007 when its single connection to the state grid failed.
The project also promotes clean energy and electrification, enabling more solar and wind power to be integrated into the grid. It will also support the growing demand for electric vehicles, appliances and equipment, which can lower energy costs and improve air quality.
“Without the rapid buildout of new transmission lines, it will be extremely difficult to transition to clean energy,” said Mark Cloud, SCE Government Relations manager. “Building more capacity and flexibility in the state’s grid means improvement in reliability and the ability to adopt more clean energy technologies.”
In fact, Riverside recently established a new city ordinance called the Building Electrification Reach Code that will require all new buildings to be entirely electric by 2026.
SCE and RPU have been working on the Riverside Transmission Reliability Project project since 2006, engaging with the community, stakeholders and regulators to find the best solution for Riverside's electric needs. After extensive studies and analyses, the California Public Utilities Commission determined that an overhead transmission line is the most feasible, safe and cost-effective option for the portion of the project south of the Santa Ana River.
“We represent almost 15,000 workers in Southern California, including many who live in the community and work for the city of Riverside providing essential water and electricity,” said Colin Lavin, business manager and financial secretary for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 47. “We are proud to support the RTRP and the benefits it will bring to our members, our customers and our community.
“We also call on the public and the stakeholders to support this important reliability project and recognize its value and necessity for the future of Riverside and the region,” added Lavin. “The Riverside Transmission Reliability Project is a project that we cannot afford to further delay.”
Some proponents of undergrounding cite the threat of wildfires from power lines near the Santa Ana River. Yet, the risk of utility-related fires from high-voltage transmission lines is relatively low, and the project has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by the CPUC.
“The Riverside Transmission Reliability Project is a vital public project to ensure our city has reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity for generations to come,” said Justin Scott-Coe, a Riverside resident and retired RPU board member. “It must be allowed to move forward.”
An overhead line would have less environmental impact than an underground line, which would require extensive trenching, excavation and possibly tunneling under the environmentally sensitive Santa Ana River. Also, an underground transmission line near a river is more susceptible to washouts when in operation.
“SCE is committed to working with the city of Riverside, its residents and its businesses to make the Riverside Transmission Reliability Project a reality,” said Cloud. “As a longtime resident of Riverside, it is more than just a transmission line for me. It symbolizes an investment in Riverside’s future, ensuring the city has the power it needs to grow and thrive in the 21st century.”
To learn more about the Riverside Transmission Reliability Project, visit SCE's project page.
Edison International (NYSE:EIX), through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power and an investor in energy services and technologies, including renewable energy. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.
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