PSE selects existing corridor as final route for Energize Eastside
Permitting process next step for substation and southern transmission lines
BELLEVUE, Wash. (8/8/2017) Puget Sound Energy announced that it has selected the existing transmission line corridor as the final route for the Energize Eastside project, most recently referred to as the “Willow 1” route.
After nearly four years of study and extensive dialogue with Eastside communities, Puget Sound Energy announced today that it has selected the existing transmission line corridor as the final route for the Energize Eastside project. Most recently referred to as the “Willow 1” route, the existing corridor is the least impactful route to Eastside communities.
“As the Eastside community grows, it is PSE’s responsibility to keep the lights on,” said Booga Gilbertson, Senior Vice President of Operations. “We’ve heard community members emphasize that the project must be safe and limit impacts to the environment. We agree. We’re committed to building and operating the project safely and limiting project impacts to the environment, which includes replacing trees. Our goal is that, when the project is complete, there will be more trees, not less.”
PSE evaluated multiple route options. Our decision to use the existing corridor was guided by two key factors:
- Our commitment to safety. The project will be built and operated to the highest safety and engineering standards. Using the existing corridor, along with optimized designs and operations, the project can safely co-exist with the Olympic Pipeline.
- Our commitment to limit impacts to the environment. This route affects the fewest trees and avoids the construction of new corridors. We know our customers value trees. Our goal is for there to be more trees when the project is complete, not fewer.
PSE’s decision was shaped by community input through the Community Advisory Group process, open houses, neighborhood and stakeholder briefings, detailed engineering analysis, the Cities’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, property owner meetings, and nearly 3,000 comments and questions.
Our plan is to upgrade the existing four wooden poles to one or two steel poles, which allows us to have fewer poles within the existing corridor. PSE is committed to keeping pole heights as low as possible. New poles will typically be in the same or similar locations as the existing poles. PSE will replace the existing poles, ranging in height from 55 feet to 65 feet, with either a single pole typically at 80 feet to 100 feet in height or two poles typically at 70 feet to 85 feet. In some locations, poles may need to be taller than 100 feet, such as crossing a highway.
PSE will soon submit permit applications for the southern portion of the project.
PSE’s plan is to build and energize the new Richards Creek substation in Bellevue and upgrade the transmission lines in south Bellevue, Newcastle, and Renton by summer 2018. PSE will build Energize Eastside in two construction phases to keep the backbone of the existing transmission system online and serving customers. Once the southern portion is in service, PSE will begin work on the northern portion in Redmond and north Bellevue.
“We’re now one step closer to constructing the project and ensuring we can continue to provide safe, reliable power to Eastside residents and businesses for years to come,” said Gilbertson. “We appreciate the community’s input to date, and we’ll continue to reach out to property owners and keep the community up to date on project progress.”
To view the interactive route map, photo simulations and more, visit pse.com/energizeeastside.
Next steps for Energize Eastside
- In the coming weeks, PSE will submit permit applications in Bellevue, Newcastle and Renton. PSE anticipates submitting permit applications for the northern portion in Redmond and north Bellevue later this year.
- PSE will continue to reach out to property owners to discuss property-specific design and landscaping and tree replacement plans.
- The project is currently undergoing environmental review, which includes preparation of a Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Phase 2 Draft EIS was published in May 2017, and the Final EIS is expected to be published in early 2018. The EIS process is led by the City of Bellevue in cooperation with the cities of Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond and Renton. More information can be found at EnergizeEastsideEIS.org.
About Energize Eastside
The Energize Eastside project will build a new substation and upgrade approximately 18 miles of existing transmission lines from Renton to Redmond in the same transmission line corridor that has served Eastside communities for more than 80 years. Together with continued aggressive electric conservation, Energize Eastside will keep the lights on for years to come. For the latest information on the Energize Eastside project, go to pse.com/energizeeastside.