Bakersfield Power Connect
Frequently asked questions
What is Bakersfield Power Connect?
This project will include the construction of a proposed new substation, enhancements to existing substations and upgrades to about 30 miles of existing transmission lines that serve about 100,000 customers in and around Bakersfield. The project will provide additional transmission capacity and help ensure electric reliability and efficiency for our customers in Bakersfield and the surrounding rural Kern County communities. These investments and upgrades will strengthen the grid and help us continue to provide a highly reliable and stable electricity source for the area’s leading businesses and industries. At this time, the California Independent System Operator, which is responsible for operating and managing California's energy grid, has informed PG&E that it is reassessing projects throughout California, including Bakersfield Power Connect.
Why are a new substation and upgraded transmission lines and substations needed in this area?
The project is a key component of our efforts to meet the needs of the region's residents and growing economy. Many of the transmission lines currently serving the area were built in the early 1960s. Since then, the population has more than tripled, and the region's economy, led by the agricultural, industrial, and oil and gas sectors, has grown significantly. By 2023, it is expected that a majority of power lines in the area could be beyond capacity. Without new investments in the local electric system, the community runs the risk of having an overloaded system in which a power outage in one neighborhood could leave the larger area without power.
Where will the project be located?
A proposed location for the project has not yet been determined. At this time, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which is responsible for operating and managing California's energy grid, has informed PG&E that it is reassessing projects throughout California, including Bakersfield Power Connect. The reassessment will focus on the project options PG&E has identified thus far and may consider other energy infrastructure improvements as potential solutions.
HOW WERE THE POTENTIAL SUBSTATION SITES CHOSEN?
PG&E is dedicated to minimizing impacts to the environment and local community. Our planning and regulatory process includes a comprehensive community outreach program and thorough assessment of environmental issues to solicit feedback and identify impacts. Prior to CAISO’s reassessment, we were engaging community stakeholders throughout the process and identifying potential sites based on their proximity to existing transmission lines and ranked based on a stringent set of criteria. Criteria included conflicts with established land uses and infrastructure; effects on agricultural operations; sensitive resource and habitat areas; length of new transmission line needed for required interconnection; constructability and engineering conflicts; cost considerations; and impacts to nearby communities. Pending CAISO’s reassessment, PG&E will continue to request feedback from the community as sites are further refined, just as we did to develop the initial list of potential sites.
HOW WILL PG&E MINIMIZE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS TO ENSURE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES ARE NOT ADVERSELY IMPACTED?
PG&E is dedicated to planning, constructing and operating the project in a manner that minimizes impacts to the environment and local community. When developing project alternatives, PG&E takes into account local noise and lighting standards, and works with applicable local, state and federal agencies, as well as environmental organizations, to ensure the new substation is planned in a manner that minimizes, and where possible avoids, environmental impacts. During construction, state-of-the-art equipment will be used to ensure safety and reduce air quality impacts.
WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THESE FACILITIES?
Our customers count on us to make our facilities safe, secure and reliable, and our employees are guided by a company pledge to always put safety first. We are committed to implementing safety and security measures at the new substation that meet the highest established standards for critical infrastructure protection, including protective perimeter fencing, proper signage, fence alarms, card restricted access to the site, motion sensors, 24/7 video surveillance and perimeter lighting, as well as advanced network firewalls for telecommunications systems.
When will the project be completed?
The anticipated timeline for the project, including when we will submit the project application to the CPUC, has been delayed and will be reassessed after the CAISO has finished its evaluation. We are unsure how long the reassessment process will take.
What are the next steps for this project?
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which is responsible for operating and managing California's energy grid, is currently reassessing projects throughout California, including Bakersfield Power Connect. The CAISO’s reassessment will ensure the proposed project meets current electric demand forecasts and minimizes costs to customers. The reassessment will focus on the project options PG&E has identified thus far and may consider other energy infrastructure improvements as potential solutions. We are unsure how long this process will take.
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