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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.

North Segment Permit Process Initiated for Energize Eastside

PSE’s efforts to build the South Segment of the proposed transmission line have temporarily stalled in Newcastle. Undeterred, PSE has now submitted a permit application to build the North Segment of the project through central and north Bellevue and Redmond, impacting residential neighborhoods including Lake Hills, Wilburton, and Bridle Trails.

The first step in the North segment permitting process was a “Courtesy Hearing” in front of the East Bellevue Community Council (EBCC). The meeting was held June 1st via zoom. PSE and CENSE gave presentations and many residents spoke against the project. You can read about it here: EBCC Courtesy Hearing Report

Newcastle Evaluating Permit for South Segment of Energize Eastside

image: current transmission line
Today: Existing power lines and poles in Newcastle.
image: proposed transmission line
The future? Taller poles and higher-voltage power lines proposed by PSE’s Energize Eastside project.

Newcastle does not need higher-voltage power lines for reliable electricity

CENSE will continue to oppose PSE’s Energize Eastside project at the Newcastle Hearing and challenge PSE’s claim that higher-voltage transmission lines are the only feasible way to provide reliable electricity for Newcastle and the Eastside. The Newcastle hearing will be the final opportunity for a city to deny a permit for the project’s “South Segment” which also includes south Bellevue and Renton. If the permit is approved, a judicial appeal by CENSE would be the next legal action.

A study by a respected industry consulting firm engaged by CENSE shows that a less expensive and state-of-the-art solution combining solar power, battery storage and demand response would provide reliable electricity for Eastside PSE customers, maintain Newcastle’s and the Eastside’s quality of life and avoid any safety threats to the Olympic Pipeline.

The Plan     Reliable Electricity • Quality of Life • Safety

CENSE is the voice of the community for smart energy choices for the Eastside. We are volunteer-run and donor-funded, in our eighth year of meeting with city governments and the WUTC to challenge the need for Energize Eastside. Click to learn more…

Energize Eastside is PSE’s project to build a massive transmission line through Eastside neighborhoods. It has been promoted with a campaign of half-truths and scare tactics. Click to learn more…

Renewable energy coupled with 21st century smart grid and storage technologies would provide better cleaner and more reliable electricity at a lower cost than PSE’s transmission line. Click to learn more…

Get Involved

   Spread the word! Tell your neighbors about CENSE and Energize Eastside.

   Donate to CENSE so we can represent you in the legal battle against Energize Eastside!

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As a grassroots organization, our strength comes through member participation.  Together we’ll ensure a safe and smart energy future for our community.