PG&E files application to build new transmission line through Paso Robles

PG&E has applied to build roughly 6 miles of transmission lines in Paso Robles. These lines cross Union Road near Penman Springs Road east of Paso Robles.
PG&E has applied to build roughly 6 miles of transmission lines in Paso Robles. These lines cross Union Road near Penman Springs Road east of Paso Robles. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

As PG&E refines its plans for a new transmission line that could run through much of San Luis Obispo County, including Edna Valley, the utility company also has submitted a proposal to build a smaller, lower-voltage line in Paso Robles, with NextEra Energy Transmission West.

The project, called the Paso Robles Area Reinforcement Project, would add approximately 6.3 miles of 70 kV transmission line and a substation in Paso Robles. It aims to improve the electrical grid in the North County, where the utility serves approximately 47,000 customers.

“The proposed upgrades are a key component of our efforts to continue to provide a highly reliable and stable electricity source for the region’s residents and growing economy,” PG&E spokeswoman Nicole Liebelt said.

She also noted that the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric grid, identified the need for upgrades to the system to ensure long-term electric reliability in the Paso Robles community and surrounding areas in 2013.

The two companies would jointly build and manage the project, with PG&E in charge of the transmission line, while NEET West oversees the substation.

The application, which was filed with the California Public Utilities Commission on Jan. 25, lists three potential routes through the city.

The preferred route would connect a new Estrella Substation off Union Road with the 70 kV transmission line along River Road that runs between the San Miguel and Paso Robles substations. It would run along Union Road, Golden Hills Road and Buena Vista Drive.

The other two alternative routes would go along Creston Road to the south of the city and Estrella Road farther to the north.

PG&E and NextEra Energy have been working on the project since 2015.

Once it deems the application complete, the CPUC will next begin an environmental assessment of the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. The public will have opportunities to comment on the proposed project during this time.

According to the application, construction could begin on the project as soon as fall 2018, with the project becoming fully operational by May 2019. It is expected to cost approximately $96 million.

For more information on the project, and the proposed and alternative sites and routes, visit www.pge.com/pasoroblesareapc.

PG&E is meanwhile also working on a separate, larger transmission line project, called Central California Connect, that would add a 270 kV powerline through San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to help improve the electrical infrastructure in both regions. That project application is expected to be submitted to the CPUC in September.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie