SDG&E kicks off bay front revival with historic removal of transmission towers

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Raul Gordillo

San Diego Gas & Electric

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        SAN DIEGO, Nov. 20, 2009 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) joined with local officials and environmental groups today to celebrate the revival of South Bay with the historic removal of the 23 lattice steel transmission towers supporting the South Bay Power Plant. 

        “Thanks to our collaborative efforts with the city of Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego, we now can remove the transmission towers that have dotted the landscape for nearly half a century, so revival of the bay front can move forward, “said David L. Geier, vice president of electric transmission and distribution for SDG&E.  “We have worked with the California Independent System Operator to ensure local electric reliability would not be adversely affected.”
        ”For many months the city has worked diligently with SDG&E to prepare for the towers’ removal,” said Cheryl Cox, mayor of Chula Vista.  “Although many of our milestones were not always visible to the public, today’s action demonstrates to our residents the bay front’s development is moving forward.”
        In 2004, SDG&E and the city of Chula Vista entered into an agreement to embark on a series of projects that would help the city redevelop the 550-acre property.  These projects included undergrounding a 138-kilovolt transmission line and removing the lattice steel transmission towers that ran along a three-mile stretch on the bay front. 

        Before the towers could be removed, several other critical infrastructure projects needed to be completed to add more generation and transmission capacity to the local electric grid, including:

        • The Otay-Metro Powerloop, a 52-mile, 230-kilovolt transmission line linking the cities of Chula Vista, National City and San Diego, as well as the unincorporated areas of the County of San Diego.  The transmission line was needed to improve reliability, relieve congestion and connect the new 600-megawatt Otay Mesa Energy Center to the regional electric grid. 

        • The Silvergate Transmission Substation project, a project which allowed for one of the existing overhead 138-kilovolt transmission lines from SDG&E’s South Bay switchyard to the Sweetwater River to be converted to an underground line. The project also included the construction of the now-operational Silvergate substation and the removal of the old Silvergate Power Plant, which ceased operations 26 years ago.

        “Today marks a significant step towards a revitalization that will lead to a diversified and dynamic bay front in south San Diego Bay," said Stephen P. Cushman, chairman of the Unified Port of San Diego. "We are pleased to have SDG&E and the city as our partners in the transmission lines removal and look forward to working together to get this project done.”

        The Unified Port of San Diego owns the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista and has a lease agreement with Houston-based Dynegy Inc., who currently operates the plant.  It is designated as a “must-run” facility by the California Independent System Operator.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.