Schwarzenegger praises Sunrise Powerlink transmission line groundbreaking

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The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line finally broke ground Thursday morning as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and more than 100 protesters looked on.

The ceremony was held at a remote site near Boulevard called Rough Acres, where the San Diego Chargers once trained. Wind turbines spun lazily in the background as Schwarzenegger told the crowd that the project did his ego proud.


By helping to link distant wind, solar and geothermal plants to Southern California communities, Sunrise Powerlink was helping California “beat the Chinese” in the alternative energy game, he said.

“I have fought and fought and fought for this,” he said of the project, which has spent more than five years struggling through permitting and legal challenges. “You could have all the renewable energy in the world. But if you don’t have the transmission lines, you have nothing.”

But in a nod to the gathered protesters, he acknowledged that energy conservation was also important, as are efforts to promote distributed solar projects that would blanket warehouse rooftops with panels.

Existing power lines, however, are “tired and exhausted,” he said.

“You have to think about the economic growth, the jobs, the impact [Sunrise Powerlink] will have on the dependence on foreign oil,” he said.

Read more about the transmission line on The Times’ Technology blog.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Top photo: Sean Masterson / For The Times