After a flood of public opposition, in 2015 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) dismissed Southern California Edison’s application for the Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project, which would have allowed 64 miles of new transmission lines to be built over fragile desert ecosystems and have cost upward of $1 billion. Critical to the CPUC’s decision was the fact that this boondoggle project wasn’t needed.
Now SCE is trying to sneak Coolwater-Lugo back in, renaming the substation “Calcite” and proposing that it be placed next to Highway 247 in Lucerne Valley. Why? Because energy developer Nextera wants to put its 60 MW Ord Mountain Solar project where there currently is no transmission facility. In other words, compensate for a poor siting decision by approving a useless substation.
SCE proudly boasts: “This project will connect new renewable generation projects in the San Bernardino County High Desert to the transmission grid.” This is what SCE said about Coolwater-Lugo, and this is exactly why the Calcite station should never see the light of day.
San Bernardino County will be doing an environmental review of the combined Calcite substation/Ord Mountain Solar projects. Stay tuned; we will be posting updates.