Sunday, July 19, 2009

T.A.N.C., FAILURE...The Results of "Stupid Grid" Project Planning

Solar, Wind, Bio, Energy News And Commentary By_Green Earl, 30 year Pioneer In Conservation & Solar Energy

Following find an article submitted and printed in the Redding
Record Searchlight Newspaper which serves much of the North
State Of California..Live Link to the following comments have
been provided in the title of this blog post above.

A short-circuit in a controversial plan to build a multibillion-dollar high-voltage transmissions line that would span 600 miles from Lassen County to bring renewable energy to Sacramento and Bay Area customers provides valuable lessons of failure.

The implosion of what critics called "The Power Line to Nowhere" is the result of poor communication, haphazard planning and a lack of public trust.

Questions of fiscal responsibility arose when a California Energy Commission study, the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, evaluated 30 potential sites for renewable energy. The Lassen County source was ranked virtually at the bottom of the list. The report also rated it as one of the most costly and having the greatest environmental impact.

TANC (Transmission Agency of Northern California) failed to act fairly by not accepting responsibilities. It is bad public policy to place lines in communities where there is no access to the energy provided and expect them to bear the negative burdens, while the cities that benefit suffer no impacts. There are existing rights of way, opportunities for co-location and non-densely populated areas in Sacramento where lines could have been placed.

Poor notification and an insufficient number of public scoping meetings angered thousands of people across Northern California, including homeowners, farmers, environmentalists, Native Americans, and city and county governments. Many received late notification after the original scoping comment deadline passed. TANC should have worked with the public and city and county governments to develop route criteria before issuing proposed routes.

A lack of transparency created substantial mistrust. Despite many requests to access engineering and environmental studies, maps of existing transmission lines, and cost/benefit analyses, TANC offered no information, and failed to provide evidence of congestion and reliability of the current system.

Mismanaged planning became apparent as TANC admitted that there were no contracts signed for renewable power supply. CEQA regulations require joint submissions for transmission and supply.

A positive change resulting from the failed project is that it brought to the attention of lawmakers, a gaping hole that allows publicly owned utility agencies to operate without state regulation. State Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) introduced legislation (SB 460) to close the loophole in existing state law. She states, "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 believe in conservation and support and understand the need for renewable energy, but this plan was doomed from inception.

Although it is lights out for TANC, many skeptics now keep a watchful eye on the Western Area Power Administration, the federal agency connected to TANC, and federal stimulus plans for renewable energy transmission, to ensure all involved avoid making the same mistakes.

Nora Shimoda is a member of the Davis/Yolo County Ad Hoc Coalition opposing TANC.

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