Business & Real Estate

SMUD cancels controversial power line project north of Sacramento

Watch SMUD crews repair wind damage amid Saturday outages

Wind storms on Saturday, Dec. 16 kept SMUD crews busy repairing damage to poles and power lines.
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Wind storms on Saturday, Dec. 16 kept SMUD crews busy repairing damage to poles and power lines.

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.”

Dale Kasler covers climate change, the environment, economics and the convoluted world of California water. He also covers major enterprise stories for McClatchy’s Western newspapers. He joined The Bee in 1996 from the Des Moines Register and graduated from Northwestern University.

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