US-based electricity utility company Southern California Edison (SCE) has completed upgrades to its West of Devers transmission lines.
The $740m upgrade is expected to increase transmission capacity enough to bring in more than 7,000MW of renewable and battery energy storage resources in the future.
SCE said that the upgrade will allow electricity to be transmitted from desert areas in the eastern part of California to the population centres of the Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley.
SCE president and CEO Kevin Payne said: “Completing the West of Devers project is another giant step in our ability to deliver clean energy throughout our service area.
“While distributed energy resources like rooftop solar and battery energy storage will contribute to decarbonising our electric infrastructure, large-scale generation and reliable delivery of renewable energy will be vital to achieving California’s ambitious climate goals.”
The upgrade involved removing and replacing conductors and supporting structures of four separate circuits of 220kV transmission lines.
These activities were carried out across the existing 48-mile corridor from the Devers substation, located near Palm Springs, to the Vista and San Bernardino substations, located in Grand Terrace and San Bernardino respectively.
The upgrade has tripled electricity transmission capacity from 1,600MW to 4,800MW.
SCE entered a transaction with Morongo Transmission to invest in the project, allowing SCE to build the project across the Morongo Indian Reservation.
Morongo Transmission is expected to invest a further $400m in the project later this year upon regulatory approval.
SCE Major Construction principal manager Chuck Adamson said: “The ability to achieve commercial operation ahead of schedule is a testament to the commitment and dedication of all the project team members and the multitude of stakeholders who contributed to the project’s success.
“With the complexities that accompany a modern-day transmission project, this achievement cannot be overstated.”
SCE said that the West of Devers went into service nearly five months before its originally projected timeframe.
Last May, SCE signed seven contracts for 770MW of battery-based energy storage capacity to strengthen California’s electric system reliability.
The company signed agreements with Southern Power, NextEra Energy Resources, TerraGen Power and LS Power to procure the capacity.