L.A. drops plan for green power line to city

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11 (Reuters) - A project by Los Angeles to build a green power line to bring renewable energy from the desert to the city has been dropped following opposition from environmental groups.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest U.S. municipal utility with 4 million customers, has formally withdrawn its right-of-way grant applications to build an 85-mile (137 km) transmission line for clean energy, called the Green Path North transmission line.

The department told the Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday that it is reevaluating renewable energy sources throughout Southern California as part of its plan to increase renewable power supply to the city.

The Green Path project had an estimated cost of more than $500 million. Environmental activists had criticized a proposed path that would cut through the Yucca Valley, two wildlife preserves and the San Bernardino National Forest.

New transmission lines needed to bring in power from solar and wind farms have raised environmental and permitting issues across the nation.

Los Angeles is aiming to cut its dependence on coal-fired power plants and to get 40 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. That goal is even more ambitious than California’s goal to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

David Myers, Wildlands Conservancy executive director, who welcomed the dropping of the power line project, said the city could turn to its existing transmission lines and should look to already designated power corridors -- such as Edison International EIX.N unit Southern California Edison's transmission corridor along Interstate 10.

“The bottom line was it was an ill-conceived project,” Myers said. (Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)