By Deb Murphy
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch is lying in an induced-coma for the next decade, or so.
While the 200-megawatt solar project east of Manzanar was removed from the Priority Queue List March 15, the department “reserves the right to renew exploration into the SOVSR at a later date. LADWP will continue to examine the viability of this renewable project for a commercial operation date estimated to be between 2024-2027,” according to spokesperson Amanda Parsons.
LADWP appears to be keeping its options open in the face of state requirements to achieve 50-percent renewables by 2030.
Parsons confirmed that once a project is withdrawn from the list it “will go to the end of the queue” if the developer resubmits it.
One factor that could have indicated a death knell of the solar ranch was the capacity of the Inyo-Rinaldi Transmission Line; or more specifically, if the capacity is reached prior to a resubmitted SOVSR request.
However, there are also options available to increase that capacity. According to Parsons, “the interconnection studies evaluate only the ability of the transmission system to accept the interconnection…not evaluate transmission capacity on any particular line. If a transmission service request is received and the line capacity for that path has already been reached, then we are obligated to perform a study to determine what facilities need to be built or expanded to add the requested capacity to that path.”