TANC power-line plan is dead, transmission agency says

A plan to build to 600-mile high-voltage power line from Lassen County to Stanislaus County and into the Bay Area is dead, officials from the Transmission Agency of Northern California said today.

The announcement, made after a special meeting of 15 power providers who make up TANC, was anticipated because utility districts in Modesto, Turlock and Sacramento recently pulled out of a $1.5 billion plan that has been on the drawing board since 2007.

The agency hoped to build the power line by 2014, to connect renewable energy sources proposed in northeastern California to the electrical grid. The plan angered property owners, including some in Escalon, Del Rio, Riverbank and Oakdale who did not want 150-foot-tall towers in their back yards.

Activists in Redding threatened to file a lawsuit to stop the project after proposed routes were unveiled this spring.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Modesto Irrigation District and Turlock Irrigation District pledged 70 percent of the funding, so the project was doomed with their departure. Other partners were the city of Santa Clara and Redding Utility District.

In a prepared statement, officials from TANC said the lack of financial support from key partners prompted the agency to terminate an environmental review process that was underway.

Alternative routes for the power line are not being considered, officials said, but the agency will look for other ways to connect renewable energy to the power grid.

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