An environmental impact report released this month concerning Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project sparked the interest of La Cañada Flintridge City Council members at the end of Tuesday night’s council meeting, due to what appears to be discrepancies in what the council was told two weeks earlier by Edison representative Dave Ford.
Ford at the Feb. 3 council meeting gave a presentation on the project, which will add 250 miles of wind-powered energy from Kern County to Ontario.
Ford said the project is expected to add some local construction elements in coming months as underground and some overhead lines come through town.
Although the majority of the line will be 500-kilovolt, the portion that goes through La Cañada will be a 220-kilovolt line, he added.
Southern California Edison expects to complete the work on its right-of-way property, so no additional land purchases are necessary, Ford said, adding that he will keep the city and residents informed as the project progresses.
During that meeting, Ford also promised the council that no new electrical towers were planned within La Cañada as part of the project.
However, when Councilman Greg Brown looked at the report, which arrived at the city this week, he was a bit startled to see a 150-foot tower planned next to the Gould substation.
“That’s higher than any existing towers,” Brown said.
Whether or not the substation is within the boundaries of the city might be the discrepancy, Councilman David Spence said.
“I think [that parcel] is in the forest. I’m not trying to make any excuses [for Ford] but, he might have been telling the truth,” Spence said.
Also disconcerting to Brown was the information that “corona noise” from the power lines, in La Cañada’s Greenridge area, is expected to go up from 20-to-24 dBA to 47-to-60 dBA.
“Sixty is loud, and this is a hum that goes on all of the time and gets louder when the air gets moisture,” Brown said.
According to the Southern California Energy website, corona noise levels for transmission lines vary depending on weather conditions and the amount of power being carried by the line at any given time. During dry conditions, there is a lower level of corona noise and the noise increases with wet or humid conditions.
That site also compares the noise level for 20 dBA to that of rustling leaves, or a whisper; whereas, ambient noise in a typical home is comparable to about 50 dBA, and normal conversation at about 3-feet is 60 to 65 dBA.
Brown suggested the city notify residents of Greenridge, and possibly put a link to the power company’s report on the city’s Web page, since although the Edison site has the report, it is difficult for a layman to find.
Brown also mentioned that the report indicates a helicopter staging area is planned within the city as well.
The council at the end of its Tuesday night meeting asked city staff to schedule another presentation with Southern California Edison during an upcoming meeting.
Chuck Adamson of Southern California Edison, who is in charge of that portion of the project, was out of town on Wednesday but called the Valley Sun to provide a few comments on the issues discussed by the council.
Adamson also received the report this week, and, he said, the EIR is “continuing to evolve.” Information is being reviewed, including the noise levels Brown mentioned, as, “That doesn’t sound consistent with the information I’ve reviewed,” he added.
As for the location of the tower and helicopter staging area, “They may be in National forest land or a part of the land owned by the city of Pasadena, which is why Mr. Ford would have given different information,” Adamson said.