In late August 2005, San Diego Gas & Electric proposed a $1.9 billion power line to connect the region to a green future in Imperial County, the land of constant sunshine and endless renewable energy promise.
A week later, SDG&E announced what that green future would look like, unveiling a landmark deal with an upstart, unproven solar dish company that promised to turn the desert sun into a major renewable energy source for San Diegans. SDG&E told state regulators that it needed the wildly contested power line, dubbed the Sunrise Powerlink, to get all the electricity here.
The big ticket projects went hand in hand. SDG&E called the solar effort the crown jewel of its transmission line, a single source that could provide as much as 11 percent of the region’s energy.