Power administration, SMUD plan new transmission line in California

The Western Area Power Administration and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) are jointly proposing the new 500-kV Colusa-Sutter (CoSu) Transmission Line Project, to be located within Colusa and Sutter counties, California.

The project, which will be a new pathway for renewable energy flow, would interconnect the California-Oregon Transmission Project (COTP) transmission system, near either Arbuckle or Maxwell, California, to the Central Valley Project (CVP) transmission system near Yuba City, California.

In a notice to be published in the Dec. 18 Federal Register, Western said that it and SMUD will jointly prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in conjunction with SMUD’s preparation of a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental impact report (EIR). The joint EIS/EIR will address Western’s proposed action of constructing the CoSu Project as well as making any necessary modifications to Western facilities to accommodate the new line; and SMUD’s proposed action of whether or not to fund the proposed project.

This Dec. 18 notice will start a 60-day public scoping period that will assist in the preparation of a Draft EIS/EIR.

Western is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that markets and transmits wholesale electrical power through an integrated 17,000-plus circuit mile, high-voltage transmission system across 15 central and western states.

SMUD is the primary distributor of electric power within an area of approximately 900 square miles in Sacramento County and a portion of Placer County, and serves over 624,000 electric customers. SMUD is a member of the Transmission Agency of Northern California, which holds significant entitlements to obtain energy through the COTP. To use these rights, SMUD has long-term transmission service agreements with Western.

SMUD submitted a transmission service request to Western under Western’s Open Access Transmission Tariff for service between the COTP and SMUD’s transmission system. Western did not have available transmission capacity to meet the service request on its existing facilities in the area; so SMUD proposed the construction of the CoSu Project.

The CoSu Project would provide SMUD access to existing renewable resources in the Pacific Northwest and other markets, provide regional voltage support, and assist SMUD in planning for anticipated load growth. In addition, the CoSu Project would improve the network transmission infrastructure and import capability into the Sacramento area and ensures the continued safe and reliable operation of the regional transmission system.

Western and SMUD will hold four local public scoping meetings in January as part of their public outreach on this project. For the most recent information and for announcements, the project website is at: www.CoSuLine.com.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.