AVMAC discusses roads and energy

This month’s Anza Valley Municipal Advisory Council (AVMAC) meeting focused on safety projects for highways 371, 79 and 74, presented by CalTrans, and “Options for Meeting Peak Power Demand,” presented by Anza Electric.

The meeting kicked off with AVMAC Chairman Tulvio Durand discussing CalTrans/Anza highway progress report No. 3.

Included in the talk was the SR-371 re-striping in order to eliminate passing zones near intersections. These intersections include Bautista Road, Cary Road and the Anza Mobile Home Park.

Also on the completed list was the paving of SR-371 with 33mm rubberized asphalt from Junction SR-79 South to 0.77 miles east of Wilson Valley Road. This was completed in November.

Durand gave thanks and praise to a woman, whose name slipped his mind at the time, who fought to get more signs put up on the highways.

According to Durand, additional 55 mph signs, curve warning signs and daylight headlight signs were installed. This was accomplished by local requests, so remember to get active regarding city improvements.

A few of the items on the priority list are the construction of four-foot paved shoulders east of Cary to east of Kirby Road. Estimated cost is $9,400,000. This is not on the program yet but the target date is October 2011.

In design are left turn lanes from both directions at SR-371 and Bautista and SR-371 and SR-74. Estimated cost is $690,000. Target construction date is summer through fall 2010.

Another project on the list is the creation of two passing lanes near Vail Lake Road. Estimated cost is $3,500,000.

On the “wish list” are turnout lanes on SR-79, two northbound and two southbound. Estimated cost is $700,000 and funds are not available as of yet.

In addition are two-way left turn lanes on SR-371 from Homestead Road to Kirby. There is no cost estimate but it is expected to be “very expensive,” according to Durand.

Not yet programmed due to lack of funds is the construction of two truck climbing lanes, one northbound, south of Sage Road, and one southbound, south of Anza Road. Estimated cost is $25,000,000, plus an additional $2.6 million for right of way.

One project in design is a roundabout at SR-371 and Contreras Road. This was voted down by the community in October and the estimated cost is $750,000.

Guest speaker Kevin Short of Anza Electric Cooperative (AEC) presented a list of solutions regarding the growing Anza population and the meeting of peak power demands.

AEC, energized in 1955, is a member of Touchstone Energy, the national brand of electric cooperatives.

According to its Web site, AEC provides power to 3,900 homes, schools and businesses and 20 irrigation loads in the communities of Anza, Garner Valley, Pinyon Pines and parts of Aguanga.

“Our max capacity,” according to Short, “is 10 megawatts, which is equal to 10,000,000 watts. Our record peak demand was 11.24 megawatts.”

One of the options to increase Anza’s power source is a new transmission line. This would run from Mountain Center.

The downside to this is that it would take a decade to build, cost between $25 million and $30 million and would not contribute to the state. Then, there are right of way issues.

Option two is a diesel peaking generator. The cost of this would be just $5.4 million, but the permits are difficult to obtain and the future of fuel is questionable.

Also on the list is photovoltaic solar. Again, the cost is tremendous at $35 million for just an additional five megawatts; it would take up 40 acres of land and a backup energy source would still be needed.

On the good side, there would be tax credits and grants available and PPA could eliminate the up-front cost.

Other options mentioned by Short are gas turbines, but propane is explosive; biomass, though we have no reliable source; wind farm, although they are not reliable in the summer, which is when demand peaks; and individual homeowner generators, but most will not hook up to the main grid.

Short stated in summary, “Our options are limited; it’s very expensive and you need to conserve your energy by shutting off extra appliances and keeping your thermostat set to a low temperature… In the summer, back off on water and [air conditioner] usage, especially between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m.”

“[AEC] will continue to pursue all options,” he added.

Furthermore, any resident wishing to use their own renewable energy source, such as windmills or solar panels, will be given credit for energy not used.

Right now there is just one rate for any energy usage at any time of the day, but Short says that is “most likely to change in the future.”

Short stressed that, although the longest power outage has only been for 32 to 33 hours, anyone who needs life support should notify the electric company so the appropriate measures can be taken in case of such an outage.

Father Fischer of Sacred Heart Catholic Church took the floor for a few minutes to express his solution for emergency lighting needed during a power outage.

Fischer was a missionary in Papua New Guinea for 44 years. They had only generators to power the village and at night the generators were turned off.

He said he used deep cycle golf cart batteries for supplemental lighting and that these batteries last for four to five years.

Short brought with him, as a novelty, an “in-home energy usage display.” He plugged it in for the meeting and announced that 73 cents was the electricity cost for the hour in the hall.

These are not yet available to the public but may be soon.

For efficiency tips, visit www.eere.energy.gov. Go to www.dsireusa.org for efficiency incentives.

More information on the California Energy Commission is available at www.energy.ca.gov; Anza Electric is at www.anzaelectric.org. Questions and comments may be directed to Kevin Short at [email protected]

Don’t forget that Saturday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the Anza Tire Disposal event at the Anza Community Hall.

Residents can transport no more than nine tires per trip; tires from businesses and nonprofit organizations will not be accepted; and rims must be removed (on-site removal available).

If you need to transport more than nine tires, contact Becky Mitchell at (951) 955-6534.

To comment on this article online, visit www.myvalleynews.com.

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