CENSE

Energize Eastside North Segment Approved

On November 9, 2023, a public hearing on the “North Segment” of PSE’s Energize Eastside project was held. CENSE presented its case and asked the Hearing Examiner to deny the application and send it back to City Staff for further study.

On December 22, 2023 the Hearing Examiner issued his decision to approve PSE’s application. His decision document acknowledged that there was significant opposition, expressed in written and oral testimony. However he didn’t address any of the opposing testimony other than to say “None of the individuals opposing the Project offered persuasive testimony or analysis that would rebut the expert reports…”. He essentially accepted the testimony of PSE and their paid experts, and ignored the rest.

More Energize Eastside Updates…

Permits for the Bellevue north segment have not yet been approved. Approval is expected Spring of 2024. Construction is expected to start during the summer of 2024 with vegetation clearing and other corridor preparation. Pole placement could also begin later this summer. Vegetation mitigation will likely be done in late fall.

Construction in Newcastle was performed and, along with vegetation mitigation, completed in 2023.

Redmond approved PSE’s permits for their portion of the north segment of Energize Eastside. PSE and Wilson Construction are currently working on vegetation management in Redmond.

Renton: Construction and restoration work has been completed in Renton and the southern part of the line energized.

Final inspection by the City of Bellevue has yet to be completed for the south segment. (according to Bellevue permitting office as of Feb 1)

Installation of the new poles in Somerset for the 230kV transmission lines was completed in 2022. Mitigation landscaping for homeowners along the line was completed by late 2022 and monitored through 2023. Before the work in Newcastle began, the new lines were energized briefly at 115kV, then were energized at the full 230kV when the work in Newcastle was completed in 2023.

CENSE participated in the PSE rate case before the WUTC in Fall of 2022. PSE asked for a 20% increase in residential electricity rates over the next 3 years, partly to cover the cost of Energize Eastside. CENSE and the Washington Attorney General objected to this increase, but the WUTC still approved the increase. Unfortunately the WUTC lacks the authority and expertise to challenge PSE’s hornswoggling.

Transmission Lines vs. Local “Virtual Power Plants”

A debate is brewing over the future of energy delivery in the U.S.: Should we be investing in new transmission lines, or localized “Virtual Power Plants” using solar cells, batteries, and demand response techniques?

This New York Times article* explains how energy companies are pushing for more transmission lines. Transmission lines are familiar to them and known to be lucrative revenue generators. However, many energy experts say Virtual Power Plants would provide better reliability and resilience, for less cost and less environmental impact. A letter from CENSE (Seattle Times, July 18, 2021) frames the issue locally, in relation to Energize Eastside, population growth in the region, and recent heat-wave-induced power outages.

* If you don’t have access to the New York Times, you can read or listen to this interview with the author of the article.

The Plan     Reliable Electricity • Quality of Life • Safety

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