SCE will spend $12 billion on electric system over next 3 years
Southern California Edison plans to spend $12 billion over the next three years to modernize the electric grid — costs that critics contend aren’t justified and are in part the result of the utility’s own mishaps.
California’s second-largest investor-owned utility is spending the money as it moves to adjust to changes in technology from rooftop solar and other innovations, Ted Craver, chief executive of parent company Edison International, told the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce this week.
Most of the yearly $4 billion will be spent on upgrading electric poles, transformers, wires and cables. Roughly $240 million a year, or about 6%, will go toward new power generation, he said.
“Our challenge is to provide electricity with little environmental impact without choking out economic growth and job creation,” Craver said, speaking in downtown Los Angeles at the State of L.A. Infrastructure Summit.
“Today, perhaps more than any other state in the U.S., California has made greenhouse gas reductions a priority,” he said. “This state has one of the most ambitious renewable energy mandates.”
On Oct. 7, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that increases the state’s mandate for clean energy from 33% by 2020 to 50% by 2030, which Craver said his company supported.
But critics of Edison and the state’s other investor-owned utilities contend that the strategies the power companies continue to pursue contradict their stated support of California’s plan.
For instance, Edison wants the California Public Utilities Commission to approve three natural gas-fired plants to help replace power loss from the broken San Onofre nuclear plant. Edison closed the plant after a faulty replacement steam generator leaked.
The commission is expected to vote this month on the proposal for the new natural gas plants, which are part of the utility’s move to buy 2,211 megawatts to supply 950,000 average homes.