SMUD cancels proposed transmission line 

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has canceled the proposed Colusa-Sutter Transmission Line after determining the project is too costly, SMUD officials announced Friday. 

The Utility District now claims the initial estimated $245 million cost of the CoSu project has increased by more than $100 million and could have ended up being significantly higher by the time the project was completed.  

The proposed 500-kilovolt transmission line, which would have run through the western part of the Sacramento Valley to connect the California-Oregon Transmission Project to SMUD’s transmission line or the Western Area Power Administration line, was vehemently opposed by Family Water Alliance, the Colusa County Board of Supervisors, the Colusa City Council, and many other local agencies and legislators. 

“This project would have severely impacted residents, businesses, farmers, hunters, and landowners, and would have destroyed many of the natural resources our community values,” Assemblyman James Gallagher said on Friday. 

At their Feb. 19 meeting, the Colusa City Council said the 44-mile project would have solely benefited Sacramento area power users, while negatively impacting the Colusa area, the environment, and wildlife. 

Nadine Bailey, executive director for Family Water Alliance, said the project was neither renewable nor sustainable and was a very poor idea from the beginning. 

Those who opposed the project agreed the CoSu project would have forced multi-generational landowners into eminent domain, and restricted easement agreements on some of the area’s most productive farmland, which would have resulted in severe cuts to jobs that are reliant on the agriculture industry, which, in turn, keeps the local economy thriving. 

SMUD officials said the decision to exit the project now comes early enough that they will save approximately $4 million in this planning phase. 

The utility district said it would now focus its resources on the suite of local, regional, and in-state renewable and reliability projects, as well as incremental transmission infrastructure.