The Western Area Power Administration and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) said Jan. 6 that they have extended the public comment period for scoping of the proposed Colusa-Sutter Transmission Line to include the review of an additional study area.
In response to public input during the initial scoping period, WAPA and SMUD are continuing scoping efforts for the environmental impact statement and environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) of the project. It will include an additional study area located approximately 20 miles south of the study areas previously scoped and refining the previously-scoped study areas. The public is encouraged to provide comments before March 7, as part of the additional scoping period.
"The public has played an important role in providing helpful information submitted through public comments last spring. Among the comments we received were suggestions about additional study areas that may be able to meet the proposed project's need," said Andrew M. Montaño, WAPA's National Environmental Policy Act Document Manager. "It is my hope that the additional public scoping meetings show the public that we value and consider their input."
"The additional study area is farther south and crosses directly into SMUD territory," said Kim Crawford, SMUD's California Environmental Quality Act Project Manager. "The new study area will help us make a more informed choice about how to best meet our future energy needs, while minimizing impacts on the environment and surrounding communities."
Scoping includes all study areas previously scoped, slight modifications to the previously-identified study areas, and a new study area that would connect the California-Oregon Transmission Project line in Yolo County to the Elverta Substation in northwestern Sacramento County. WAPA is the lead agency for the EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act. For California Environmental Quality Act requirements, SMUD is the lead agency preparing the EIR.
Six public scoping meetings are planned for Jan. 24, 26, 31 and Feb. 2. At the meetings, the public, agencies and other stakeholders can learn about the proposal and express any concerns.
No action will be taken on the project proposal until after the environmental review is completed in 2020.
The proposed 500-kV CoSu Line is needed to enhance the reliability of the Northern California power grid and increase SMUD's ability to import clean power from, and export power to, other energy markets, particularly the Pacific Northwest. The project would provide additional bi-directional transmission capacity to enhance SMUD's ability to participate in the California Independent System Operator's Energy Imbalance Market. A recent California Energy Commission study makes the case for projects like this that enhance transmission capability to import out-of-state renewable resources for California to meet its 50% renewable energy goals by 2030.