Building new power plants and renewable energy sources in San Diego County would take less of a toll on the environment than building the Sunrise Powerlink, according to a joint federal-state study released Thursday.

The study of San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposed 150-mile-long power line that would run from Imperial County through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park concludes that five less damaging options exist to help meet the region’s energy needs.

Building the power line and keeping it inspected and maintained for 40 years would have a negative impact on climate change, even though the proposed line would tap into renewable energy sources such as solar power, the report says.

SDG&E has advertised the line as a way to access the renewable sources it needs to meet state mandates for utilities to have 20 percent of their energy come from green sources by 2010. But the analysis says doing that would “cause an overall net increase in [greenhouse gas emissions] and a significant climate change impact.”

The study was conducted by the California Public Utilities Commission and the federal Bureau of Land Management.

We’ll have more on this later.

ROB DAVIS

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