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Presidential Substation Project 

Ventura County Star, March 14, 2014

State reduces SCE substation project
By Michele Willer-Allred

Commission cites forecast of less demand

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday rejected Southern California Edison's original Presidential Substation project, which included a new electrical substation and power lines in Thousand Oaks near Moorpark and Simi Valley.

The commission instead approved a scaled-down version of the project, which includes upgrading substations in the area.

Representatives of an environmental group applauded the decision.

"California's regulators took a stand for the environment and for ratepayers today, finding a better alternative for this bloated power line proposal," said Jonathan Evans, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Edison submitted an application to the commission in 2008 for an electrical substation on a 4-acre vacant parcel on the south side of Olsen Road in Thousand Oaks, just west of Simi Valley city limits.

The proposal also called for aboveground power lines along Read and Olsen roads, west of the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library & Museum.

Edison representatives said the project was needed to maintain system reliability and meet expected electrical demands in cities and unincorporated areas of Ventura County.

However, some residents said they were concerned about health and safety risks of living near large power poles and lines. .

Environmental groups said the substation and high-voltage power lines would have cut through habitat for endangered species and a rural greenbelt that separates Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.

The cities of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks also opposed the project.

The commission published a final environmental impact report in March 2013, but Edison in June prepared revised electrical load forecasts for the area through 2022 that showed energy demands had declined.

In an amendment to the final report, the commission said the new information from Edison “created a feasible alternative to the original proposed project and would also substantially lessen the significant environmental effects" if an alternative was used.

The alternative would add capacity by replacing transformers with higher-capacity equipment at the Portrero Substation in Thousand Oaks and the Royal Substation in Simi Valley.

In the amendment, the commission said Edison had agreed on the alternative and that construction likely would start in 2016.

"I'm pleased the aesthetics of the open space south of the city of Moorpark will not be degraded by those proposed facilities,” Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin said.

"The California Public Utilities Commission did a through review of the alternatives in order to provide the balance between energy delivery and the environment," said Charles Cronin, co-founder of the Substation Transmission Towers Opposition Project.

Edison is moving forward with plans to add a subtransmission line from the Moorpark Substation through the Santa Rosa Valley.

The project, under review by the commission, is opposed by many residents because of health and safety concerns.


© 2014 Ventura County Star

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton