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Schwarzenegger praises Sunrise Powerlink transmission line groundbreaking

Transmission The Sunrise Powerlink transmission line finally broke ground Thursday morning as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and more than 100 protesters looked on.

The ceremony was held at a remote site near Boulevard called Rough Acres, where the San Diego Chargers once trained. Wind turbines spun lazily in the background as Schwarzenegger told the crowd that the project did his ego proud.

By helping to link distant wind, solar and geothermal plants to Southern California communities, Sunrise Powerlink was helping California “beat the Chinese” in the alternative energy game, he said.

“I have fought and fought and fought for this,” he said of the project, which has spent more than five years struggling through permitting and legal challenges. “You could have all the renewable energy in the world. But if you don’t have the transmission lines, you have nothing.”

Protesters1 But in a nod to the gathered protesters, he acknowledged that energy conservation was also important, as are efforts to promote distributed solar projects that would blanket warehouse rooftops with panels.

Existing power lines, however, are “tired and exhausted,” he said.

“You have to think about the economic growth, the jobs, the impact [Sunrise Powerlink] will have on the dependence on foreign oil,” he said.

Read more about the transmission line on The Times' Technology blog.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Top photo: Sean Masterson / For The Times

Bottom photo: Protesters rally at the Sunrise Powerlink ceremony. Credit: David Hogan

 
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California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is termed-out in his second term as the chief executive of California where 13% of the U.S. population lives in a protracted recession with 12.5% unemployment. He entered office via a re-call of Democratic Governor Gray Davis. California’s government has for decades been dominated by progressive Democrats with their labor union, immigrant and environmentalist core constituencies. These core California progressive voting blocks have neutered all of Schwarzenegger’s conservative notions of governance, leaving his popularity rating at 32%. 68% of Democrats disapprove of Schwarzenegger, along with 55% of Republicans and Independents. The California State Legislature has an approval rating of 13% -- similar to the U.S. Congress (PPIC Dec. 2010).

Schwarzenegger has been wholly converted to the environmentalist “green agenda” – global warming, green economy, green energy, etc. He has blindly supported the green side of every environmental issue in California – except for the Central Valley’s farmers vs. wildlife water supply debacle. Before the recession in 2006, the Governor supported, and California voters naively approved, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32). AB 32 would impose costly 2012 reductions in state greenhouse gases for unproven global warming benefits. All new environmental regulations increase the unit production costs and corresponding consumer prices of all goods, services, energies and activities. AB 32 would further punish California businesses and families with more taxes, energy expenses and unemployment as we enter the third year of an historic national economic recession.

Schwarzenegger also rallied against a November 2nd State Proposition 23 that would suspend implementation of AB 32 greenhouse gas controls until the state’s unemployment rate is reduced to below 5.5%. Prop 23 failed as a ballot measure – thus, the costly AB 32 climate law stands for implementation in 2012.

In spite of the Prop 23 defeat, Arnold Schwarzenegger should “man up” to help California’s struggling economy by suspending the Prop 32 climate law compliance mandates under its Section 38599 citing exception for “… extraordinary circumstances, catastrophic events, or threat of significant economic harm” (Calif. Health & Safety Code, Div. 25.5, Chapter 488, Part 7, et. seq.) As governor, Schwarzenegger has twice this year declared a “state of emergency” in California due to continuing state budget deficits of over 20%, chronic unemployment and other financial difficulties.

A study by the Governor's own Small Business Advocate reports that small businesses pay more than $134,000 each in annual California regulatory costs – significantly in green regulations. Estimates are that the total cost of California regulations is about $493 billion annually – the equivalent of 3.8 million jobs. AB 32 could cost the state an additional 1 million in job losses with its cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels.

Governor, what is clear in California is that partisan ideologies and cultish environmentalism have replaced prudent science and economic realities in climate policy. What is also clear is that radical environmentalism no longer offers any product or service in support of our future security and prosperity. Militant environmentalism and green-obsessed bureaucrats have become an “axis of antagonism” that we can no longer afford.

Sunrise Powerlink is a joke and a scam. It has been conclusively proven several times (including by SDG & E) that the San Diego region could EASILY BE A NET EXPORTER OF SOLAR POWER just from existing rooftops. The last thing they need is to haul sunshine in from somewhere else. In fact, every single Big Solar plant is selling 100% of its power to another place that could easily produce more solar power for less money. SCAM.

And lest we start thinking "oh, never mind, it's san diego," all ISO ratepayers are going to be forced to pay the 2.9 billion bucks this boondoggle is costing (1.9 plus 1 more for ISO interconnections). Yep, all of CA pays when anyone installs a transmission line (other than municipal utilities). Plus, if this one gets away with murder, it will be absolutely certain that every utility's gonna do the same thing - build a totally unneeded, unwanted transmission line.

We need german style feed in tariffs so WE can be paid for producing clean, non-deadly solar power on our own rooftops. Stop the Big Energy bleeding!

Why do we have to always be BEATING the Chinese or the Russians?

Is not the project worthwhile in and of itself?

Did we need some semi-bad guy competitor as a spur to construct the
Golden Gate Bridge or build the Grand Coulee Dam?

Competitive instincts are as often foolish and destructive as they are
sometimes productive. Our culture and our civilization is not a football
game.

Instead of using the billion plus dollars to build this transmission line, why don't we subsidize rooftop solar for businesses and residences?

No need for huge transmission projects and we would be on the road to energy independence.

Guess we wouldn't really have the need for a huge utility company like SDG&E then.

Bob

This project can be used as a "poster child" for why our power is so much more expensive then the rest of the west. All these delays and remediations added to the cost of the project. For every new power source, there is a vocal opposition that extracts a huge price out of the developer.


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