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Sunrise Powerlink Public Meetings Begin This Week

Public meetings kick in this week on the controversial Sunrise Powerlink project. San Diego Gas and Electric wants to build a 150-mile transmission line that would link energy sources in the Imperial

Sunrise Powerlink Public Meetings Begin This Week

Public meetings kick in this week on the controversial Sunrise Powerlink project. San Diego Gas and Electric wants to build a 150-mile transmission line that would link energy sources in the Imperial Valley to San Diego County. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

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San Diego Gas and Electric's project has met stiff opposition since it was proposed last year.  The utility's preferred route takes the line through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The power line also would go through parts of Poway and Rancho Penasquitos.

Environmental and community groups say the transmission line may not be needed and would destroy beautiful views along the route. SDG&E says the line is needed by 2010 to ensure electric reliability for the region. The utility also says the project will allow it to meet a state mandate to use a certain amount of energy from renewable sources.

The eight public meetings are sponsored by the state public utilities commission and the federal Bureau of Land Management. The PUC plans to decide whether the project moves ahead by the end of this year. 

 Ed Joyce, KPBS News.