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San Diego Gas & Electric has announced plans to develop electrical infrastructure in east San Diego County that will connect within the company’s existing power network.

The planned new substation, along with the company’s approved Sunrise Powerlink transmission line and recently announced partnership in a wind project on the Campo reservation, will help boost the emerging renewable energy industry in eastern San Diego and Imperial Counties.

SDG&E already has secured 26 percent of its power supply for 2012 from renewable energy resources, which is well ahead of the voluntary commitment the company made to supply 33 percent of its power from clean energy sources by 2020.

“Experts agree that a lack of electrical infrastructure is the most significant barrier to tapping into the vast potential for renewable energy in this region,” said Debra L. Reed, president and chief executive officer for San Diego Gas & Electric, in a release. “This project will serve as the backbone for delivering renewable energy from the mountain region east of San Diego County for decades to come.”

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has identified portions of eastern San Diego County, Imperial County and the northern Baja California region as having some of the highest concentrations in the country of potential energy from the sun, wind and geothermal, SDG&E said in a release.

ECO, the planned new electric substation in East County near Jacumba will transmit electricity via the existing Southwest Powerlink electric transmission line and connect future wind farms and other renewable energy projects.  The project was submitted for approval to the California Public Utilities Commission on Monday.

The plan also calls for rebuilding the existing 50-year-old Boulevard substation. Local communities such as Jacumba, Boulevard, Campo, Bankhead Springs, Live Oak Springs, and the Campo, La Posta and Manzanita Indian Reservations will benefit from improved energy reliability when the current Boulevard substation is modernized, SDG&E said in a release.

The two substations will be connected by a new 13-mile, 138-kilovolt power line. SDG&E also will add new communications equipment at a facility near Boulevard to help improve remote system management.

In June, the Campo Band of Mission Indians of the Kumeyaay Nation, Invenergy and SDG&E jointly announced a plan to build on tribal lands a wind energy project capable of generating up to 160 megawatts of renewable power, or enough clean energy to power 104,000 homes. This joint project will be the Campo tribe’s second wind generation facility and is expected to offset as much as 145,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually.

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