Monday, July 11, 2005

San Francisco seeks transmission link

You can generate all the power you want, but if you can't get it to the users, it is worthless. San Francisco is seeking a way to get power to the Bay Area.

Electric power is San Francisco's Achilles' heel.

The city's aging power plants don't generate the amount of electricity its people need. High-voltage lines tied to the state's power grid take up the slack, but they all come from just one direction -- the Peninsula. An earthquake there could shut down several lines at once, plunging parts of San Francisco into darkness.

Now, the city of Pittsburg and Babcock & Brown, a finance company specializing in power projects, want to bring energy to San Francisco through a new route -- a cable under the bay.

They plan a $300 million electrical line running beneath the bay floor from Pittsburg to San Francisco. Buried 3 to 6 feet deep for most of its 55 miles, the transbay cable would give the city an extra path for power.