Edison to launch big wind project
Southern California Edison said Friday that it was about to begin construction on a desert wind farm that could provide power for upward of 3 million homes by 2013, predicting that it would be the largest wind transmission project in the country.
Officials estimate that the Tehachapi Renewal Project will eventually provide 4,500 megawatts of electricity. The project will harness the wind that blows through the Tehachapi Mountains about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said the project would create the largest block of wind energy in the country.
Currently the country’s largest wind farm is the Horse Hollow project in Texas, which provides 730 megawatts, according to Edison spokesman Steve Conroy.
Construction is expected to begin Tuesday. The first phases include building substations near Mojave and Monolith and transmission lines expected to be operational next year.
The project is part of Edison’s five-year, $5-billion transmission expansion program. The company, a subsidiary of Rosemead-based Edison International, provides power to 180 cities in central, coastal and Southern California.
In January, Los Angeles broke ground on the 8,000-acre Pine Tree wind project in the same area. That project is expected to produce enough electricity to power 56,000 homes when it is complete in 2009.
Wind energy currently contributes just over 1% of all the power used in the U.S. but is the nation’s fastest-growing energy source, according to the American Wind Energy Assn.