SMUD cancels controversial power line project north of Sacramento

SMUD on Friday canceled a controversial $345 million power line project north of Sacramento that had drawn opposition from farmers.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District announced that it had scrapped the Colusa-Sutter Transmission Line Project, saying the project had grown too expensive. The original price of $245 million had grown to $345 million since the project was conceived in 2014.

“It was determined that the project is too costly,” SMUD said in a prepared statement.

The proposed 500-kilovolt transmission line through Colusa and Sutter counties would have enabled SMUD to access more hydro power and other clean energy from the Pacific Northwest. SMUD said the line would have improved system reliability.

Farm groups in the Sacramento Valley rose up in opposition, with farmers saying the new power lines and transmission towers would have disrupted their operations and disturbed wildlife. In some cases they would have had to surrender farmland to the project.

“I do not want the wires,” Sutter County rice grower Mike Cole told The Sacramento Bee in 2016. “I don’t like them from a farming standpoint and I don’t like them from a wildlife standpoint.”


SMUD cancels controversial power line project north of Sacramento, by Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee, March 1, 2019.

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