Western extends comment period for Colusa-Sutter line in California

The Western Area Power Administration (Western) has extended the public comment period to April 18 as part of the environmental review of the proposed Colusa-Sutter Transmission Line, which was announced in December 2015 in partnership with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

The planned line, dubbed the CoSu project by Western, would increase the ability to deliver renewable resources to the SMUD territory from the Pacific Northwest, enhance grid reliability in the region by providing voltage support and assist SMUD in planning for anticipated load growth, Western said in December.

In a Jan. 29 statement, Western said it was extending the public comment period to provide additional time for interested parties to identify issues and concerns that could be considered in the preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Four of six public meetings have been held about the project in Colusa and Sutter counties, with two meetings in each county thus far, and the final two meetings focused on scoping are planned for Feb. 2 and Feb. 4, Western said. The public can learn about the proposed project and provide comments to inform Western and SMUD of their issues and concerns at the earliest stage of the environmental review process, Western said.

The comment period was extended by 62 days from the original 60-kday period identified in the initial notice in the Federal Register Dec. 18, 2015, Western noted.  

In that initial notice, Western said that the CoSu line would be located within Colusa and Sutter counties, connecting the California-Oregon Transmission Project (COTP) system near either Arbuckle or Maxwell, Calif., to the Central Valley Project system near Yuba City, Calif.

Western said that it will jointly prepare an EIS in conjunction with SMUD’s preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act. The EIS and EIR documents will address Western’s proposed action of constructing the CoSu project and SMUD’s proposed action of whether to fund the project, Western said.

The CoSu line would provide SMUD with a new connection to the COTP system through a proposed new substation in Maxwell or Arbuckle, along with a new substation near the existing O’Banion substation in Sutter County, with potential modifications to SMUD’s existing Elverta substation in Sacramento County, according to the website for the project.

The project would involve up to 44 miles of new transmission lines, and Western and SMUD are considering two corridor study areas and a segment alternative for the CoSu line, the website indicated. As partners in the project, “Western and SMUD will examine several different alternatives as part of the environmental review process,” they said.

According to TransmissionHub data, the project is estimated to cost $60m.