In November 2014, the District completed the Out Valley Transmission Line Project connecting the Kirkwood Valley to the national grid via a PG&E substation located at Salt Springs Reservoir. Previously reliant entirely on diesel fueled generators at the Powerhouse, the community and ski resort now experience the environmental benefits of reduced emissions and improved air quality, rate stabilization, reliability with significantly fewer service interruptions, and assurance that power needs are met through build-out of the resort and community. The District is a member of the California Independent System Operator Corporation (Cal ISO), who balance electric supply and demand for 80 percent of California’s transmission grid power. Power is purchased through an energy supplier based on load forecasts provided by the District, with actual usage monitored by Cal ISO. The District’s electric enterprise is part of a publicly owned utility and is not regulated by the CPUC.
The District began providing electrical service on July 22, 2011 as a result of acquiring the existing propane gas and electric systems of Mountain Utilities, which was owned and operated as a subsidiary by the owners of the ski resort at the time. The original powerhouse was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Day 2010, and by March 2012 the District had completed construction of a new 5 megawatt Powerhouse housing eight generators with sufficient capacity to meet the current peak demand of 3 megawatts. Since connecting to the grid, the Powerhouse serves as a reliable backup in case of any interruption of power supply off the grid.
The Out Valley project consists of 3.1 miles of overhead transmission lines (115kV and 34.5kV) from Salt Springs Reservoir to Bear River Reservoir, at which point 25.69 miles of underground transmission line begin, ending in Kirkwood. The underground portion is comprised of 37 sectionalizing cabinets and 18 vaults. There are also two substations to step the power down from 115kV at Salt Springs to 12kV in Kirkwood, where a total of 11.47 miles of underground distribution lines serve the residential and commercial properties. Other District electrical assets include 170 transformers, six circuit routing switches and 37 underground vaults.