Southern California Edison
The Southern California Edison power plant serves between 11 and 14 million people within 50,000 square miles. Area services within the Southern California Edison territory include San Bernardino County, Ventura County, most of Los Angeles County, Tulare County, Orange County, and portions of Riverside County, Santa Barbara County, Kern County, as well as others. Following the electricity market of California’s deregulation, Southern California Edison was forced to sell off some of its plants, while others were sold off by choice. Natural gas-fired plants were let go by the company and sold to out-of-state companies. However, SCE did retain its hydroelectric plants and half of its coal-powered plants.
Southern California Edison plans to purchase more power provided by renewable energy. SCE has contracted with Solar Millennium to purchase solar thermal power. SCE almost worked with Stirling Energy Systems to create the first commercial Stirling Solar Dish, but the project was abandoned when it was determined to be too expensive. However, photovoltaic solar power was determined to be a less expensive option.
Photovoltaic solar power will involve the installation of solar panels on 65,000,000 square feet of Los Angeles rooftops, which will create enough power for 162,000 homes. SCE is also using wind power. New projects will be built in the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm. The additional 50 square miles will be more than three times the size of any existing wind farm. SCE has also partnered with Ford to determine how electrical plug-in hybrids will react with the grid.
Current power plants on the Southern California Edison power grid include Big Creek Hydro Facilities in Shaver Lake, California, Four Corners Generating Station in Fruitland, New Mexico, Mountainview Power Plant in Redlands, California, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Wintersburg, Arizona, and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Clemente, California. SCE is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under Edison International.
In addition to SCE, the Southern California area gets its power from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Imperial Irrigation District. Additionally, Northern California receives power from Pacific Gas & Electric, which is based out of San Francisco. PG&E and SCE are linked together by Path 26 wires, which follow Interstate 5. Other interconnections, such as Path 46, hook up SCE with out-of-state utilities. SCE also provides gas and water service to Catalina Island under the Catalina Island Gas Company and the Catalina Island Water Company, respectively.
Although vital to the state of California’s power needs, many of these plants also pose significant risk to employees. Besides the presence of dangerous chemical emissions, the use of asbestos in their construction makes many of these facilities a dangerous place to find employment. Especially before the 1980s, when regulations were enacted to protect workers from this dangerous material, the risks of asbestos exposure were high. Although former and current employees of these facilities may have seen many years pass after their exposure to this material, mesothelioma, the cancer resulting from asbestos exposure, can have a latency period of up to 50 years. Individuals who suspect past contact with asbestos are encouraged by many medical professionals to seek advice and screening from a doctor to determine if their level of exposure poses a health risk.