Public-private partnership to address Central Valley electric needs
January 31, 2018
San Luis Transmission Project will provide electricity for the delivery of water and support renewable energy development
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – A group of public and private organizations today announced plans to move forward on a project to enhance electric service to the San Joaquin Valley. The San Luis Transmission Project is being developed jointly by Western Area Power Administration, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Bureau of Reclamation and Duke-American Transmission Co.
The project involves construction of a new 85-mile, 230,000-volt electric transmission line from WAPA’s substation in Tracy to the San Luis, O’Neill and Dos Amigos substations in the Los Banos area. The route will parallel existing transmission facilities through non-irrigated ranch land.
The project will provide electricity for the economical and reliable delivery of federal water supplies to Central Valley and Bay Area residents, businesses and farms.
“The San Joaquin Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. Its farms, ranches and associated processing facilities generate tens of thousands of jobs and require affordable and dependable sources of electrical power,” said Cannon Michael, chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority board of directors. “The project will help meet those needs for decades to come and will help the Valley’s agricultural industry remain productive and competitive.”
WAPA is the lead federal agency for the project, developing it for the Bureau of Reclamation and its San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project. WAPA is legally required to provide electric transmission service to Reclamation and its customers. WAPA’s previous transmission contract with Pacific Gas and Electric for the delivery of San Luis Unit power at the federal Central Valley Project expired in 2016, and Reclamation requested that WAPA develop a new transmission service arrangement to replace the expiring contract.
“This transmission line is a last major piece of the San Luis Project as envisioned and authorized by Congress,” said Bureau of Reclamation Power Operations Division Chief Barry Mortimeyer. “It will provide stable and durable power costs for the delivery of Central Valley Project water to our agriculture communities, municipal/industrial customers and refuges.”
Duke-American Transmission Co. is a private transmission developer working with the public stakeholders on the project. “Public-private partnerships can provide advantages in critical, regionally significant infrastructure projects, such as the San Luis Transmission Project,” said DATC President Randy Satterfield. “In this partnership, DATC’s transmission expertise will benefit public stakeholders as they secure a predictable, reliable transmission connection to support the water and power needs of the Central Valley.”
“This public-private partnership maximizes the benefits of building critical energy infrastructure while simultaneously meeting the electricity needs of extremely important agricultural and water customers responsible for the majority of U.S. produce production,” said WAPA Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel.
Besides providing long-term cost certainty for water customers, the project also will help enhance transmission system reliability and support renewable energy development in the Valley.
“The project is designed to fill a gap in the power supply grid for California and will enhance the state’s ability to transfer needed power from areas where it is generated to areas where it is needed. It will also create opportunities to help California meet its renewable energy mandates by providing access to the grid for solar energy generated within the Valley,” said Michael.
Of the line’s 600 megawatts of electric capacity, 400 will be used by water customers, and approximately 200 MW of additional capacity will be available to area utilities and renewable energy developers. The San Luis Transmission Project is fully permitted and in the construction design phase; DATC will soon begin marketing the additional capacity.
Additional quotes from participants and supporters:
“The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority strongly supports efforts underway to build the San Luis Transmission Project (SLTP). This new, 85-mile electric transmission line will provide reliable and affordable power to deliver water to farms on the San Joaquin Valley’s Westside as well for municipal and industrial users, wetlands, and wildlife refuges.”
– Cannon Michael, Board Chair, San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority
“This project is important for controlling the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s energy costs for conveying imported water to Silicon Valley, and is expected to reduce those costs over the long term. The project will allow for the continued use of low carbon power, is consistent with the District’s policy goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020, and will allow for expanded transmission of renewable energy to the Bay Area.”
– Richard Santos, Board Chair, Santa Clara Water District
“As a San Joaquin Valley farmer, reliable, affordable power is essential to my business and the local economy. The San Luis Transmission Project also increases the State’s ability to meet its renewable energy goals by creating more options for increasing renewable energy production in the Valley. That’s good for farms, it’s good for rural communities, and it’s good for the environment.”
– Sarah Woolf, Cantua Creek, California farmer
“WAPA has a statutory obligation to ensure water deliveries from the Central Valley Project are powered with reliable, secure, affordable and sustainable energy. With SLTP, federal agencies, private industry and customers have created a win-win-win situation that meets both this obligation and provides benefits that will extend far beyond the original participants.”
– Subhash Paluru, Senior Vice President and Sierra Nevada Regional Manager, Western Area Power Administration
“Del Puerto Water District is pleased to join the many agencies and organizations that support the San Luis Transmission Project. This project speaks directly to our mission of providing adequate, reliable and affordable water supplies to our agricultural customers, and provides a partnership opportunity to secure those supplies at the lowest cost moving into the future.”
– Anthea Hansen, General Manager, Del Puerto Water District
About San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority — A California joint powers agency responsible for operation and maintenance of the South of Delta Central Valley Project facilities. It represents 28 federal and exchange irrigation, M&I and wetland water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties. www.sldmwa.org
About the Bureau of Reclamation — A federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is the largest wholesale water supplier in the country and the nation’s second largest producer of hydroelectric power. In its Mid-Pacific Region, Reclamation owns, operates and manages the dams, power plants and canals of the Central Valley Project. www.usbr.gov
About Western Area Power Administration — A power marketing administration within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for marketing and transmitting more than 25,000 gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable hydropower annually from 56 federal hydroelectric power plants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. WAPA authorizes construction of transmission or may act independently to build transmission in the region. www.wapa.gov
About Duke-American Transmission Co. — A transmission developer equally owned by Duke Energy and American Transmission Co. Duke Energy’s regulated utilities serve customers in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. ATC is the nation’s first transmission-only utility. It owns and operates more than 9,600 miles of transmission lines and 554 substations in the Midwest. DATC owns 72 percent of the transmission service rights to the Path 15 transmission project, an 84-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line in central California. www.datcllc.com