A new transmission project proposal just southeast of Barstow would be able to carry up to 1,000 megawatts — enough to power 650,000 homes — of clean, renewable power while also meeting increased demand for electricity.

Continuing its commitment to California’s renewable power goals, Southern California Edison (SCE) is seeking approval to build the Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project in San Bernardino County.

Charles Adamson, SCE major projects manager, said Coolwater-Lugo would allow independent power generators to reach the California power grid, but that independent generation projects aren’t always built in places with adequate transmission capacity.

“The Coolwater-Lugo project would relieve transmission capacity bottlenecks, ensure system reliability by responding to increased electrical demand and support development of large-scale renewable generation,” he said.

SCE wants to build Coolwater-Lugo — consisting of 65-75 miles of new 220- and 500-kilovolt transmission lines from the existing Coolwater Substation in Daggett toward the proposed Jasper Substation in Lucerne Valley and ending at the Lugo Substation in Hesperia. 

The project also includes the permitting of a new Desert View Substation to ensure the system’s reliability, meet increasing demand in the Apple Valley area and provide a new interconnection point for future generators.

In August, SCE submitted its application to build the Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project to the California Public Utilities Commission. The commission, along with the Bureau of Land Management, will decide on the approved routes and sites.

Adamson said that throughout the review and approval process, the public will have various opportunities to provide comments on the project. SCE will also continue its reachout to the various communities.

“As part of our public involvement process, SCE hosted a series of local open houses in June in Daggett, Hesperia, Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley to discuss the Coolwater-Lugo project,” Adamson said. “The informal gatherings provided opportunities for the public to get updates on the project and to talk to SCE project representatives.”

The open houses followed community workshops SCE hosted in November 2011 and March 2012 in the same areas.

SCE expects to receive a decision from the California Public Utilities Commission in late 2015 and anticipates completing construction of the project by 2018.