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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent, Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
  • 755 items added with 372,737 views
  • Jul 28, 2021

This should tell you all you need to know about the state of transmission lines in America's power infrastructure. PG&E is willing to spend up to $30 billion—about 1/3 of its total worth according to some estimates—to bury transmission lines in northern and central California. What will be a real test is getting beyond the environmental opposition. This area of California is among the most sensitive and protected in the country. The utility will have a tough road but if they can pull it off, it could offer a model for utilities moving forward.  

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jul 29, 2021

After all the fires and outages and spiking prices I would think most people would be for burying the lines. Seems like a great idea for many reasons. 

Steve Beilstein's picture
Steve Beilstein on Aug 6, 2021

It doesn't say if they will be burying transmission lines. I assume this is 99% distribution level lines which are significantly easier to construct. We bury 34.5 kV lines all the time in the renewable industry, pretty much every utility scale solar field and wind farm has many circuits of them running from the turbines or inverters to the project substation sometimes for fairly long distances.  I had assumed they would first identify the medium to high risk areas, then pull in new covered conductor, implement immense vegetation management resources, and complete inspections/improvements on all the structures and equipment first, maybe they have already done that. Either way it is a huge undertaking, and good to hear as the problem is not likely going away anytime soon. I am interested how it will be financed and how PG&E customers will bare the burden of this massive project. Many large western utilities will be watching...

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