Central Valley

Modesto Irrigation District withdraws from massive power line project

The Modesto Irrigation District formally pulled out of a plan this morning to string 600 miles of high-voltage power lines from northeastern California to the central part of the state.

On a 5-0 vote, the power company’s directors said there was “significant anticipated legal exposure” had they remained part of TANC, or Transmission Agency of Northern California. The decision followed a staff recommendation last week that MID withdraw from the controversial project.

TANC was envisioned as a way to link solar- and wind-generating energy farms in Lassen County with power customers in the Central Valley and Bay Area. The $1.5 billion project drew widespread opposition from property owners along many parts of the proposed route, which would have featured tall transmission lines bisecting property of people in some areas who would not have benefitted from the power.

The MID’s decision mirrors that of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District two weeks ago. SMUD and MID were the two largest districts in the consortium, which also includes the Turlock Irrigation District.

The TID also was expected to vote today on whether to remain part of the group.

MID General Manager Allen Short was the chairman of the TANC commission.