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Sunrise Powerlink Project Wins Highest Honors in California Engineering Competition

March 6, 2013 - Brea, CA

The American Council of Engineering Companies of California has awarded its highest accolade, the Golden State Award, to Burns & McDonnell for the Sunrise Powerlink(SM) Project. The recognition was announced Feb. 19 at the 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet in Sacramento, Calif.

The Sunrise Powerlink Project was an ambitious, challenging project for San Diego Gas & Electric Company® (SDG&E) that connected renewable energy resources in the Imperial Valley region through rough terrain and sensitive environments to serve its customers in San Diego and southern Orange counties.

SDG&E selected Burns & McDonnell as owner's engineer for the project, a $1.883 billion electric transmission project that will deliver 1,000 megawatts of wind and solar power. The 117-mile project, which includes a 40-acre 500 kV substation and a 6.2-mile 230 kV underground transmission line, was completed in just 18 months and energized on June 17, 2012.

The Sunrise Powerlink begins at the desert floor in Imperial County and rises as high as 5,600 feet as it passes through the Cleveland National Forest. It crosses Interstate 8 five times and drops back to 1,000 feet above sea level. One span reaches nearly 5,200 feet, the longest span in the SDG&E system.

Much of the terrain is rugged, and 234 of the 438 structure sites of the line's alignment required helicopter installation for the transmission towers and foundations. The project used micropile foundations and innovative steel caps for the towers, sparing many flights and helping minimize disturbance to the area. Innovative bracing systems assisted with helicopter erection. Scheduling was carefully coordinated to complete timely work while meeting strict environmental mitigation requirements and tight deadlines.

Burns & McDonnell provided detailed transmission line engineering, permitting support with multiple governments and agencies, procurement and construction support, environmental monitoring and reporting, as well as integrated web-based 3-D monitoring of construction progress.

About Burns & McDonnell
Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a 100 percent employee-owned, full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services firm. Burns & McDonnell is currently the 23rd largest AEC firm in the Engineering News-Record top 500 ranking. With the multidisciplinary experience of more than 3,700 professionals in more than 30 regional, national and international offices, Burns & McDonnell plans, designs, permits, constructs and manages facilities worldwide with one mission in mind -- to make our clients successful. For more information about Burns & McDonnell, visit

For more information, contact:
Renita Mollman


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