Sunrise Powerlink Rdeir Summary

  • Recirculation was prompted by change in specification to "connected actions" -- projects that would not proceed unless the current project is approved. The original DEIR outlined two such projects:
    • A 250 MW wind project called “Rumorosa Wind Developers II (RWD)”
    • The Jacumba Substation, required to interconnect Mexican generation to the CAISO transmission
      system via the existing Southwest Powerlink (SWPL) transmission line
  • The dimensions of these two projects has been changed, and that is what prompted the revision and recirculation of the DEIR, as follows:
    • The Sempra La Rumorosa Wind Energy Projects was increased in size, now as having the capacity to generate up to 1,250 MW, much larger than the 250 MW originally proposed and new location closer to the United States.
    • SDG&E provided additional information on the substation in the U.S. as well as a new 69 kV transmission line and communication tower that would be required to interconnect the Sempra wind project, as well as rebuilding and increasing the size of the Boulevard Substation.
    • The electricity generated by the new wind turbines in Mexico is dependent on the addition of transmission capacity to the SDG&E transmission system in the Jacumba area. The SWPL does not have adequate capacity to carry this load. The Sunrise Powerlink or an alternative 500 kV transmission ine, built along either the proposed route or one of the southern routes, would be required to transmit the wind energy.
  • Wind project details:
    • 2007-06-30 - Sempra entered into an agreement with Cannon Power Corporation of San Diego to develop a wind project near the town of La Rumorosa in the municipality of Tecate.
    • 2007 ?? Sempra Generation has agreed to sell SCE up to 250 MW of power from the La Rumorosa wind power facility under development.
    • 2007-12-20 - Sempra Generation filed an Application for Presidential Permit (APP) for an entity called Baja Wind U.S. Transmission, LLC to construct a transmission line that ould connect the Sempra La Rumorosa Wind Energy Projects (RWEP) with the existing Southwest Powerlink (SWPL) transmission line.
    • 2008-03-19 - Sempra Generation filed an Addendum to the Application or Presidential Permit (APP) with additional details of the project.
    • 2008-07 - EIR/EIS recirculated consisting of the following components:
      • Sempra La Rumorosa Wind Energy Projects (Sempra RWEP): up to 1,250 MW of wind generation
        in Mexico
      • Sempra Transmission Line: a double circuit 230 or single circuit 500 kV transmission line from
        Mexico to the U.S.
      • SDG&E Jacumba Substation: a 500/230/69 kV substation located east of the town of Jacumba
      • SDG&E 69 kV Transmission Line: a new 13.4-mile transmission line connecting the SDG&E Jacumba
        and Boulevard Substations
      • SDG&E Boulevard Substation Expansion: from1/4 to 3/4 acres
      • SDG&E Communication Facility: located in eastern San Diego County.

  • RWEP Details
    • Constructed in phases, with the first phase estimated to be on line by 2010, and the final phase being completed and on line in 2013.
    • Located less than 1,000 feet north of the town of La Rumorosa, Baja California. La Rumorosa is approximately 70 miles southeast of San Diego in Mexico.
    • Will use 2.5 MW turbines for its first phase.
    • Assuming the use of 2.5 MW turbines, the 1,250 MW project would require 500 turbines. Sempra has identified an area of 7,500 acres within which the RWEP would be located (each turbine requires 15 acres).
      • This is in stark distinction to other wind farms which require between 50 and 150 acres per turbine. 15 acres is remarkably small area for turbines of this size. Assuming 7500 acres, the appropriate number of turbines predicted is 75, and at 2.5 MW each, the expected output would be 187.5 MW, which remains under the original design target of 250MW. To support 500 turbines, we would need roughly 50,000 acres, or about 79 square miles.
      • Given the rough terrain of the area, it is likely that siting the turbines will require study over at least a year to determine where to place the turbines. The land that would be occupied by the RWEP is generally characterized by rolling to steep foothills.
    • Proposed the construction of approximately three miles of either double circuit 230 kV or 500 kV transmission line that would interconnect RWEP with the existing SWPL transmission line in San Diego County through the with the Jacumba Substation. Approximately three miles of either 230 or 500 kV transmission line would be required to interconnect the RWEP with the Jacumba Substation; one mile of the transmission line.
      • Given that the limit to the number of turbines is under 250MW, the large circuit is not necessary and a 68KV transmission line is sufficient.
    • steel lattice towers standing approximately 150 feet tall would be used for the transmission line. These structures would be installed approximately every 1,300 feet depending on site conditions (i.e., terrain, roadways, utilities; etc.) and transmission line alignment. The 3 miles of new transmission line would require approximately 12 to 15 new towers (four or five of which would be in the United States).
  • Sempra originally believed the RWEP would not require significant transmission upgrades but rather could link into the existing SWPL transmission line (Rose, 2007), however the Addendum to the APP states that since the original Presidential Permit in December of 2007, CAISO has indicated that either the Sunrise Project or other transmission upgrades would be required to deliver energy from the wind energy development in the La Rumorosa area.
    • This does not make any sense because the area of the wind farm is insufficient to provide enough power to require a larger transmission line.
  • the specific design of the wind project has not been disclosed by Sempra

  • The turbines would be mounted on enclosed tubular towers. The total height of the turbine and tower structures would likely range from 380 to 440 feet depending on the turbine size, elevation, and topography at each tower location. The rotor-diameter would be approximately 300 feet for a 2 MW turbine and up to 340 feet for a 3.6 MW turbine.
  • Siting and spacing of wind turbines depends on site-specific conditions that are influenced by terrain and wind conditions. The ultimate location of turbines would be determined after a detailed analysis of the terrain and wind in the La Rumorosa areas. Turbines would likely be located on ridge-tops and in some areas with sufficient upwind space, multiple rows of turbines could be used. The wake of upwind turbines can substantially diminish the velocity and increase the turbulence at downwind turbines. Where the rows are sufficiently spaced, the losses can be minimized. This project would space the turbines in rows between 8 to 10 rotor-diameters apart.
    • It is clear from this description that they have not identified the "ridge tops" where the turbines can be located.
    • Assuming nearly optimal packing, the turbines must be separated by about 300 ft x 10 = 3000 ft.
    • Assuming five diameter spacing as optimal between each turbine, that is 1500 ft.
    • Total area for a single turbine is 3000 x 1500 ft = 102 acres.
  • The final footprint or permanent disturbance of the RWEP is assumed to be 5 to 10 percent of the total acreage of the RWEP sites, approximately 312.5 to 2,125 acres.
    • That would mean that the total area is 10x that area, or 3,125 to 21,250 acres. That is significantly more than the 7,500 acres mentioned, and is less than half the 50,000 acres estimated from the turbine separation values.

Does this proposal hold water? NO!

On first glance, the idea that they can site 500 giant turbines in this area is a pipedream. From the Wikipedia article:
Currently, the largest wind farm in the US – and the largest in the world – is Florida Power & Light's Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, located in Taylor County, Texas. The Horse Hollow project operates 421 wind turbines and has a capacity of 735 megawatts. It consists of 291 GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines and 130 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines spread over nearly 47,000 acres (190 kmĀ²) of land in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas.
That's an average of 111 acres per turbine.
The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center was subject to one of the nation's first nuisance lawsuits against a wind farm. Plaintiffs in the area of the wind farm, many of whom live on 100-700 acre properties, originally filed suit in June 2005, unhappy about the appearance of the turbines. Soon after, the judge ruled that under Texas law, they could not complain about the look of the wind farm. The complaints then shifted to the sound created by the turbines and extensive noise measurements were made. However, the jury found that the wind farm did not create a private nuisance, and awarded the plaintiffs nothing.
The largest one in the nation will soon be the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm:
The Fowler Ridge Wind Farm is currently under construction in Benton County, Indiana, around 90 miles northwest of Indianapolis. The wind farm will be completed in two phases and will have a maximum generating capacity of 750 MW total. The first phase of the project, consisting of 222 wind turbines, 182 Vestas V82-1.65MW turbines and 40 Clipper C-96 2.5MW[1] turbines, will bring the first 400 MW on-line by the end of 2008. Phase 2 (350 MW) could begin in early 2009. [2] When complete, it will be the largest wind farm in the nation.
It's interesting that a windfarm of similar size, 1GW (The La Rumarosa Wind Energy Project is supposed to be 1.25 GW.) takes 90 square miles:
The London Array is a planned offshore wind farm in the outer Thames Estuary in the United Kingdom. Of 1 gigawatt capacity, it is expected to become the world's largest offshore wind farm. [1]

The site is seven miles off the North Foreland on the Kent coast in the area of Long Sand and Kentish Knock,[2] and will cover 90 square miles between Margate in Kent and Clacton in Essex. The completed wind farm will consist of 341 wind turbines of around 3 MW to 7 MW rated capacity,

whereas the RWEP is supposed to take only 7500 acres (less than 12 square miles) and only 15 acres per turbine.

This proposal would be one of the largest wind farms on earth, and would be unique in that it is able to very tightly space the wind turbines. Given the terrain of that area, I doubt they can site 500 turbines within a 12 square mile area, given the rough terrain.
Where land area is sufficient, turbines are spaced three to five rotor diameters apart perpendicular to the prevailing wind, and five to ten rotor diameters apart in the direction of the prevailing wind, to minimize efficiency loss.
Using rough figures, the minimum area per turbine would be 1200x2000 to 2000x4000 ft, or 54 to 181 acres. Let's just say that to put a turbine on less than 30 acres of area is unheard of, and would be HIGHLY irrational as you would lose much of your power to the "park effect". But they are planning to do it on only 15 acres each. Hah. A windfarm of 500 turbines of the size they propose, and given the uneven terrain, would require at least an average of 100 acres each, would require a total of 50,000 acres, or 78 square miles.

The Fowler Ridge Wind Farm is a good comparison, as it uses smaller (1.5MW) turbines with 253 ft RD, and has uneven terrain similar to our local mountains, and the need to respect 1000 ft setbacks, etc. Although they are rated to consume 58 to 74 acres each, they actually consume 173 acres due to the terrain and setback requirements.

If they have only 7500 acres, they would be able to site about 75 turbines. That's 150 MW or so, and doesn't need the SRPL.

-- Raymond Lutz - 2008-08-22
Topic revision: r1 - 22 Aug 2008, RaymondLutz
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