Kirkwood finally joins the power grid

KIRKWOOD -- A nine-year project that took Kirkwood from diesel generators to the national electric grid Nov. 1 is "operating flawlessly," according to a Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District news release.

The district, which serves the small Kirkwood community near South Lake Tahoe and Vail's Kirkwood Mountain Resort, was helped by many federal and state agencies to finance and complete the $38 million project.

The combination underground and overhead electrical system includes two new substations and a 10-megawatt, 28-mile transmission line that connects Kirkwood to the western electric grid at Pacific Gas & Electric’s Salt Springs substation.

"It was initiated to improve the reliability of our infrastructure, reduce our customers’ electricity rates and reduce environmental impacts," Standish O’Grady, the PUD's board president, said in the release, adding that the project was "on time and on budget."

“We are thrilled that Kirkwood has connected to the electric grid and turned off the diesel generators in the Great Basin and (Eldorado) national forest,” Ted Schade, officer of Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, said in the release.

“The plan to connect to the electric grid was part of Kirkwood’s original application to create a new ski resort when it was approved over 40 years ago," Schade said. "Some things just take time, creativity and perseverance.”

Barbara Barte Osborn