Green Energy Facility Proposed for San Jose’s Coyote Valley

San Jose, Coyote Valley, Hopkins & Carley, Silicon Valley, San Jose Planning Division, PG&E Metcalf Transmission Substation, Santa Cruz Mountains, Apple, Cisco

By Kate Snyder

Though officials have in the past been resistant to develop the area, a group of landowners are looking to build a green energy facility in San Jose’s Coyote Valley. A letter was submitted to the San Jose Planning Division earlier this year in support of a preliminary review request for the evaluation of such a facility or energy storage system and electric transmission lines on 128 acres near Bailey Avenue and Monterey Road.

Chuck Reed, former mayor of San Jose and attorney for Hopkins & Carley, a Silicon Valley law firm, is representing the landowners in the proposal. Though the size and scope is undetermined, the group asked for an evaluation of proposed uses for the site, including energy storage systems, or electric transmission line from those generating, or storage facilities to a point of junction with an interconnected electrical transmission system as well as regional transmission facilities or grid upgrade facilities, such as the San Jose Area HVDC Line.

“I think everyone by now knows that California and San Jose are desperate for more energy and more clean energy,” Reed said.

The area that would contain the facility is 128 acres that includes the address 8820 Santa Teresa Blvd. The benefits of such a project to San Jose, according to the letter, include providing significant support for energy resilience and sustainability – essentially helping “keep the lights on in Silicon Valley during energy crises.” 

Additionally, the proposed uses would allow San Jose to make progress toward its goals of transitioning to a renewable energy future by providing clean electricity that supplies the entire city and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

The group also argues that the accelerating pace of resource development called for over the next 10 years is driven in part by the escalating need to decarbonize the electricity grid because of emerging climate change impacts and the expected electrification of transportation and other

carbon-emitting industries. Other issues cited include concerns regarding reduced access to opportunity imports as neighboring systems also decarbonize and greater than anticipated impacts of peak loads shifting to later-day hours when solar resources are not available.

“Wind and solar power will not provide energy resiliency and sustainability without ample energy storage and energy transmission capacity,” the letter states.

Part of the proposal also includes a connection via electrical transmission lines to the PG&E Metcalf Transmission Substation, located approximately 1.5 miles from the proposed project site on Monterey Road. Both energy transportation and storage are needed to work in conjunction, Reed said, to achieve what is needed to get clean energy delivered to customers.

“You need this HVDC line to come in and bring energy to the rest of California and other states,” Reed said.

In the past, San Jose officials and preservationists have worked to keep development out of the Coyote Valley, a 7,400-acre expanse that sits between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo range. Three years ago, the city spent $93 million to purchase 937 acres of land in the valley specifically for the preservation of open space, according to The Registry’s previous reporting.

As part of San Jose’s General Plan, the property was originally slated for industrial use and though numerous private entities have sought to redevelop the land over the years, several project proposals ended up not moving forward. Forty years ago, both Apple and Cisco had plans to build large tech campuses in Coyote Valley, and while Cisco did win project approval in the early 2000s, the project stalled after the dot-com bust.

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