Yes, more good news.  Yesterday, the TANC Board met, and were heard on the public conference call to vote, one by one, to put an end to this project that no one wants:

Special Op-ed: TANC’s Implosion: Lessons of Failure

July 16, 2009

By Nora Shimoda

Fizzle, crackling and popping noises came to the minds of many as they heard news of a short-circuit in a controversial plan to build a multi-billion dollar high-voltage transmissions line that would span 600 miles from Lassen County to serve Sacramento and Bay Area utility customers.

Following months of agitated protests from community groups organized across Northern California, including Round Mountain, Glenn and Shasta Counties, Capay, Clarksburg, Winters and Davis in Yolo County, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties, tribal groups of Native Americans, and environmentalists, the Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC) terminated the project.

The burden of negative impacts, such as health concerns, blight and loss of property value, affected thousands of people in many communities, yet these communities would not benefit from energy of the line. Inadequate notification to property owners, cities, and counties forced the agency to extend the scoping comment deadline several times.

TANC is a joint powers agency, a consortium of 15 municipal utilities, but only five were participating in the transmission line project (Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Modesto Irrigation District (MID), Turlock Irrigation District (TID), Silicon Valley Power (City of Santa Clara) and Redding Electric). State mandates to meet renewable energy goals of 20 percent by 2012, and an anticipated boost to 30 percent by 2020, is the primary justification for the project, according to TANC officials. The scheduled completion was 2014.

Questions of fiscal responsibility arose when a study by the California Energy Commission, called the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI), evaluated 30 potential sites for renewable energy and the Lassen County source was ranked virtually at the bottom of the list. The RETI report also stated it was one of the most costly to build and having the most impact on the environment. Despite the evidence, TANC steadfastly moved forward with its plans as a frustrated public perceived its comments falling on deaf ears.

Citing uncertainty of plans by the federal government to construct transmission lines, SMUD, with the largest stake in the project at 37 percent, withdrew its support on July 1. The TID and MID followed suit two weeks later on July 14th. With financial support severed by three significant partners, the entire project collapsed the following day as TANC general manager Jim Beck announced termination of the project, including engineering and EIR/EIS reports.

And that marked the demise of what many critics called, “The Power Line to Nowhere.”

Reasons Why the TANC project Imploded:

1. TANC was not fair and not accepting responsibilities or negative impacts. It is bad public policy to place lines in communities where there is no access to the energy provided and making these communities bear all of the negative burdens, while the cities that benefit suffer no impacts. There are existing rights of way, possibilites of co-location and as much non-densely populated areas in Sacramento where lines could have been placed. If they truly were alternate routes, why do all 3 run through Yolo County and none through Sacramento? All of the lines are generally in the same area. It is a lose-lose situation for many communities, and win-win for many cities that would receive the power and no burden of negative impacts.

2. No notification to local governments, or very vague notification, of lines going over city and county owned properties. No notification to school districts (the proposed central 2 line was directly across the street from Harper Jr. High in Davis). TANC should have worked with the public and city and county governments to developed route criteria before issuing proposed routes.

3. Lack of integrity with public image of TANC and the TANC/Navigant relationship. TANC consistently called itself a not-for-profit agency. But it has just one employee, general manager, James Beck, and his desk is in the Navigant offices. The Navigant web site indicates that it is a worldwide consulting conglomerate that is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. It states on its web site, something to the effect that its foremost goal is “maximizing shareholder interests,” which certainly sounds like a profit-making agenda. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with this relationship but the public perception is that of mistrust. If in fact, the tangled relationship turned out to be private, then a private company would not and should not have rights of eminent domain.

4. Lack of transparency despite many requests from the public to have access to engineering and environmental studies, maps of existing transmission lines, and cost/benefit analyses (such as rate increases), TANC did not provide information requested. There was also a failure to provide evidence of congestion and reliability of the current transmission system.

5. Mismanaged planning, as there were no contracts signed for renewable power supply. CEQA regulations require jointly, plans/contracts for power supply and transmission lines.

6. No state regulation of publicly-owned utility agencies. The controversial TANC plan brought to the attention of lawmakers this egregious oversight. State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) introduced legislation (SB 460) to close a loophole in existing state law that exempts publicly-owned utilities from state oversight in planning and location of high voltage transmission lines. Senator Wolk states, “While this project is no longer moving forward, the root problem is still there,” she said. “The TANC project was a cautionary tale of what can happen when local public utilities aren’t held to the same state oversight and coordination as their investor-owned counterparts. The planning process for local public utility projects remains horribly flawed.”

Most opponents of the TANC project have a history of conservation and support the need for renewable energy, but this plan was fatally flawed.

Although it is lights out for TANC, many skeptics now keep a watchful eye on the federal government’s stimulus plan which includes high-voltage transmission projects for renewable energy.

Written by Nora Shimoda, Journalist, Media Strategist, Davis/Yolo County Ad Hoc Coalition opposing TANC.

TANC pulls plug

TANC project ended

TANC power plan plug pulled

TANC tanks as the public gets involved

TANC Powerline project goes dark

NorCal power agency abandons power line project

From “Silicon Valley Mercury News” (ummm, whatever happend to San Jose Mercury News?):

Controversial power line project canceled

By Jeanine Benca,

Bay Area News Group

Posted: 07/15/2009 07:00:00 PM PDT

Updated: 07/15/2009 09:05:35 PM PDT

The plug has been pulled on a controversial 600-mile power line project that would have delivered renewable energy to the city of Santa Clara and other parts of Northern California, officials from the Transmission Agency of Northern California said Wednesday.

The announcement to terminate the $1.5 billion project, made after a special meeting of the 15 public power providers who make up TANC, was spurred by the withdrawal of utility districts in Modesto, Turlock and Sacramento, said TANC spokesman Brendan Wonnacott.

The agency had hoped by 2014 to connect power lines from yet-to-be-developed wind and solar farms in northeastern California to power-thirsty urban areas elsewhere in Northern California. The lines would have wound through parts of the Central Valley and Bay Area, cutting through more than 50 agricultural and viticultural tracts in Livermore and Pleasanton, to bring energy to the city of Santa Clara and other TANC members.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District abruptly backed out of the project earlier this month, citing financial and regulatory concerns. The district also voiced doubts over whether northeastern Lassen County — the proposed starting point for the transmission line system — was the best site for renewable energy.

On Monday, the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts followed suit.

Read the rest of this entry »


Just heard from Lisa Goza, of Stop TANC, that Modesto and Turlock dropped out, following SMUD’s withdrawal last week.  That’s supposedly 70% of the $$$$ for the project — gone!   Redding is hanging in there, but the STOP TANC crew is on them and… well… maybe tomorrow morning at the TANC board meeting, they’ll give it up, throw in the towel, and tank TANC.  It’s so close…

This group is amazing, so many people spread out over such a great distance, and they’re so wildly diverse, united against this obscene project built on lies — they’ve exposed the TANC project for what it is,  and it is falling… this is a case study in how to organize for impact.

Soon… it’s time for the silver stake!


Yolo supervisors reject transmission power lines

Created: 07/14/2009 03:49:59 PM PDT

The Yolo County Board of Supervisors attempted to short out a proposed high-voltage power line by sending a letter recommending the end of the long-debated project.

TANC, or the Transmission Agency of Northern California, is proposing to erect high-voltage power lines across Yolo County in an attempt set in place future renewable energy projects scattered throughout the state.

On June 30, TANC representatives spoke with Yolo County about the project, but after a lengthy discussion the board was not convinced the project was a good idea. While supervisors emphasized their commitment to renewable energy, they questioned the feasibility of the project and expressed their displeasure with TANC’s inability to work with local governing agencies.

Now, after the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Turlock Irrigation District and the Modesto Irrigation District all withdrew from the project, the board decided to officially request that TANC end its project.

On Tuesday the board recommended to send a letter requesting that officials put an end to the project and adopt protocol for working with local government in the future.


Two more players drop out of TANC proposal

* By Scott Mobley

Two more TANC power line backers have defected, perhaps dooming a power line that has galvanized grass roots opposition from Cassel to Davis and beyond.

The Transmission Agency of Northern California board will hold a special telephone meeting this morning to consider whether to go ahead with a proposal to build the $1.5 billion, 600-mile-long power line.

Members of the public may participate in the meeting by telephone from the Redding Electric Utility office at City Hall and from 16 other TANC member offices around Northern California.

Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District on Tuesday followed the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in pulling out of planning for the high-voltage power line, slated to stretch from Lassen County to Silicon Valley.

Read the rest of this entry »