Puget Sound Energy hears public input on new 115-kV line route

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is gathering public input on the routing of a proposed 115-kV transmission line in the northern Redmond-Kirkland, Wash., area northeast of Seattle.

Demand in the area is growing and the 4.5-mile Sammamish-Juanita line is needed to increase system capacity and improve reliability, PSE officials told about 40 people at a community meeting in Redmond on June 20.

The line will enable PSE to move two existing substations off a system referred to as the Moorlands system and on to a neighboring system that has more capacity. The Moorlands system, which currently serves about 150,000 customers, is nearing its capacity and is facing reliability challenges, Carol Jaeger, a transmission planner with PSE, said at the meeting.

The new line will be the fourth line serving the area. The additional transmission pathway will increase available capacity within the Moorlands system and improve the system’s reliability, she said.

Given the area’s increasing demand, the current three-line configuration can withstand a single line outage but, should a second line go out of service, the remaining line feeding the Moorlands substation would overload, “trip out of service, and cause an outage in the entire area,” Jaeger said.

The new line’s additional capacity would provide “a good cushion for a number of years of growth before we have to [add another new line] in this area,” she said.

PSE worked with its stakeholder advisory group during the fall of 2011 and examined 30 route options before arriving at three proposed route alternatives. The route alternatives were selected to avoid, as much as possible, three areas of sensitivity: residential areas, unspoiled natural environment, and areas with difficult engineering considerations including crossing interstate highways, steep slopes, and buildings too close to potential right-of-way.

Maps depicting the route options were on display, and utility representatives answered questions and discussed the options.

Following the final community meeting June 23, the utility will meet with its stakeholder advisory group to incorporate public input and develop a preferred route recommendation, which will be presented to the community for additional feedback.

PSE anticipates finalizing the route late this summer and beginning construction in 2013.

PSE is a subsidiary of Puget Energy, which is a subsidiary of Puget Holdings LLC.