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Most of Southern California Designated as Key Transmission Corridor

The Department of Energy designated most of Southern California and part of Arizona as a key transmission corridor today. The designation means a federal agency could trump state regulators when it co

Most of Southern California Designated as Key Transmission Corridor

The Department of Energy designated most of Southern California and part of Arizona as a key transmission corridor today. The designation means a federal agency could trump state regulators when it comes to transmission projects. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The Southwest corridor includes most of Southern California, including San Diego County and part of southwest Arizona. The designation gives federal regulators authority to approve transmission projects even if state officials reject the proposals. Kevin Kolevar is with the U.S. Department of Energy. He says the nation's power grid is 30 to 50 years old.

Kolevar: And while it served our last century very well it is not going to serve the next century very well. And we need to be thinking about how we modernize the grid that we have in our system today.

San Diego Gas and Electric has proposed building the Sunrise Powerlink, a high capacity electric transmission line. If state regulators reject the project, under the corridor designation, SDG&E could ask for a federal permit to build it. The DOE also designated a corridor on the east coast. Each national corridor designation is effective for twelve years.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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