SMUD Multi-Jurisdictional Transmission Line Draws Ire

By Published On: May 15, 2009

Dozens of Sacramento-area residents opposed a 600-mile transmission line that would span much of Northern California during an evening meeting May 7 of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District board. “What I find most inexcusable about this proposal, thus far, is how insufficient the notice given to property owners has been,” said Jennifer Kirtland, a self-described sixth-generation Clarksburg area resident and real estate agent. She added that any new power lines in the area would be detrimental to local farming operations and property values. Five Transmission Agency of Northern California members, including SMUD, are participating in the proposed line. The members propose projects including names like, “alpha,” “zeta,” and “delta”--each with its own geographic segment. The project would add or replace up to 600 miles of wires and cable, carrying 230 to 500 kV. The plan is for TANC to buy the land where substations would be constructed and lease the land beneath the transmission lines. Most of the 40 speakers complained about the notification process behind the estimated $1.5 billion TANC Transmission Project, which if built, would extend from Stanislaus, Santa Clara, and Lassen Counties. In February, the Western Area Power Administration and TANC announced plans for the new electrical route, which could potentially carry 4,000 MW of electricty. In April, TANC conducted a series of 12 little-advertised, sparsely attended scoping meetings in various cities to explain the project, according to witnesses. Currently, the project is in the final stages of the public scoping process. The scoping period initially called for public comment to be submitted by the end of April, but TANC recently extended the deadline to May 31. A draft environmental impact statement is expected next year. The transmission line wouldn’t go live until at least 2014. Since the issue wasn’t on the formal agenda, the board was not able to discuss the proposed project in detail. Each director spoke after the public had its say and some bluntly criticized the process so far. Jim Shetler, SMUD’s assistant general manager for energy supply, said he would urge the TANC commission to “go back out to the public in formal meetings prior to finalizing or drafting the EIS/EIR.” The muni’s general manager and chief executive officer John DiStasio, said that he would consult with staff and TANC officials regarding the process to date and how it can be improved going forward. “SMUD’s a big part of this line and I want to make sure that we’re comfortable with what we’re recommending,” he said.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now