The Valley Center Transmission Line Upgrade Project Will Help Reduce Wildfire Risk
Nearly 10 years in the making, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) recently reached a major milestone on the Valley Center Transmission Line Upgrade project in one of the most wildfire-prone areas of San Diego County. As part of the project, SDG&E crews placed nearly five miles of overhead transmission lines underground and hardened two miles of existing overhead transmission lines.
“This project is a massive achievement, marking the completion of the hardening of transmission lines in the Tier 3 section of the High Fire Threat District of the region, and is the result of a close partnership with the community of Valley Center and local and Tribal governments,” said SDG&E’s Director of Wildfire Mitigation, Jonathan Woldemariam. “Safety is and always will be our top priority at SDG&E, and this project will not only help safeguard our customers from potential wildfire threats, but also help improve electric reliability during extreme weather conditions, like Santa Ana winds.”
The project includes removing seven miles of overhead transmission lines along Valley Center Road between two existing substations, while leaving the existing distribution lines on shorter poles. A new transmission line was installed underground along Valley Center Road, Cole Grade Road and Pauma Heights Road. The final three-mile section now transitions back to above ground along Pauma Heights Road where existing fire-resistant steel poles support an already existing power line. The final portion of the project included undergrounding a small section of transmission lines across Keys Creek.
The Valley Center Transmission Line Upgrade project is just one of many wildfire safety projects included in SDG&E’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP) filed with the California Public Utilities Commission each year. In accordance with Senate Bill 901, the WMP outlines the ongoing practices and additional improvements SDG&E will make beyond the investments the utility already has made to combat the effects of the changing climate and the region’s year-round wildfire threat. For more information on SDG&E’s 2022 WMP, please visit sdge.com/2022-wildfire-mitigation-plan.