The Santa Barbara News Press covered the risks El Niño poses to the electricity transmission system that serves the South Coast area of Santa Barbara County. This issue is the impetus for SBR3 – the Academy’s plan to create a local, 100% renewable microgrid to serve the power needs of Southern Santa Barbara County.
The full article is below:
Two transmission lines separate South Coast from blackout
Edison planning for the worst El Niño could bring
By SCOTT STEEPLETON NEWSPRESS CITY EDITOR
November 8, 2015 12:08 AM
While the prospect of El Niño this winter has some focusing on sandbags, weather stripping and making sure the roof doesn’t leak, for 82,700 metered Southern California Edison customers on the South Coast, the question might well be, “Will the lights stay on?”
If the National Weather Service forecast of a 95 percent chance of El Niño holds and Southern California gets walloped by sustained rain, a flood or rock slide in the wrong place could take down the two 220 kilovolt transmission lines connecting Goleta and the Santa Clara Substation in Ventura County, throwing the South Coast into the dark.
These lines hang from the same set of lattice steel towers running through the hills of Ventura and Santa Barbara, increasing the risk of simultaneous failure.