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Subsea Telecom News: Trans Bay Cable Project receives final approval

Posted on 21.08.2007 - 16:00 EDT in SUBSEA TELECOMS NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

International Investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown announced today that it has received approval from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) in San Francisco for its proposed High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line. This key decision is the final approval required for the Project. Contractual arrangements for the project are presently being finalised and construction of the approximately US$450 million project is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2007 with completion expected in 2010.

The Trans Bay Cable is a 53-mile long HVDC transmission line that will run under the Bay, connecting the electric grid near the city of Pittsburg to San Francisco. At each end of the cable, a converter station will be built to convert the electricity into Direct Current or Alternating Current, as appropriate, for use on the power grid. The project will not need its own power plant, but rather will transmit existing power from the Pittsburg Substation to a converter station in San Francisco.

In September, 2005, the Board of Governors of the California ISO (ISO) chose the TBC project over several other alternatives as the most feasible energy transmission project for San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.

"Our studies clearly document that the TBC project is needed in 2010 to meet national and regional reliability standards and to help maintain load serving capability in the City for years to come", said ISO Vice President of Planning and Infrastructure Development Armando Perez. The ISO is a not-for- profit public-benefit corporation, regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, with a duty to maintain electric system reliability for its service area.

The approval by BCDC follows on the heels of last week's approval by San Francisco for the line, confirming the project's importance as a much-needed new energy transmission source for the City.

Click image to enlarge.

"We, and our partners at the City of Pittsburg, are excited we have received this final approval. Getting to this point has been a long process and we look forward to closing our financing and commencing construction of the Project," said David Parquet, TBC Project Manager at Babcock & Brown. "This project will provide an entirely new path for electricity into San Francisco, assist in improving access to significant renewables in Northern California, all in an environmentally benign way and without disrupting other Bay Area communities."

Babcock & Brown's partner in the TBC project is the City of Pittsburg. The city will eventually own, operate and maintain the assets of the Project.

"This Project is a great example of how creative solutions can help overcome complex challenges," said Pittsburg Mayor Ben Johnson. "We're pleased to work with Babcock & Brown on the TBC project, which will provide a more reliable energy transmission system for the San Francisco Bay Area."

"Achieving final approvals for this project is a great outcome following the work that has gone into the development of the project over the last few years," said Phil Green, Chief Executive of Babcock & Brown. "The Project is an FERC regulated asset and as such will deliver a strong secure return on investment when commissioned. It is an exciting initiative for Babcock & Brown being one of the largest development projects we have undertaken to date and reflects the ongoing focus on our development pipeline as an important source of growth for our specialised funds and asset platform."
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