Category Archives: Uncategorized

CENSE: PSE’s Outlandish Assumptions to Justify Energize Eastside

According to CENSE’s research and experts, PSE’s own documents show there is no electricity reliability issue for the Eastside until 2024 at the earliest with the existing equipment in place. Once again, as CENSE’s Patricia Magnani explains in the following video, PSE resorts to misrepresentations and deceit to justify its determined hard sell of an unnecessary project, motivated by the shameless greed of PSE’s Australian and Canadian owners:

PSE’s Shell Games with “Energize Eastside”

PSE continues to try to fool the public by playing shell games to get its “Energize Eastside” (EE) project approved, no matter what the cost to the public ($200 million, massive environmental damage) or how wildly unpopular EE is:
1. Confusing Normal Growth with Peaks. PSE is good at mixing apples with oranges on these topics. They start with “demand” as in “supply and demand” as used by economists, saying the Eastside is growing in population and economically as if that means there is a direct 1-to-1 correlation between general growth and the need to build EE. Then the shell game: they switch to “demand” as used in the power industry to refer to reliability in extreme peaks in moments of high usage. EE is designed with the intent to meet those 1-in-5 or 1-in-10 year extreme peak moments, but PSE deviously conflates the two different concepts of “demand.” There is, yes, a tenuous connection between overall general Eastside demand for electricity on a daily basis and the likelihood of more peak moments in the future as a result, but the remedy for the latter instance must take into account the vast resources of the entire Western Connection that can be used to counteract such events. Every utility throughout the Western US, B.C., Alberta and Northern Mexico that comprise the Western Connection is required to maintain a set amount of reserve power so that any stressed area can call on that surplus energy in an extreme peak moment. Again, growth v. peaks: apples and oranges. PSE keeps selling a false premise for EE.
2. Generation v. Transmission. With all logical solutions to the supposed reliability problem EE is supposed to address, none of them requires new transmission lines. Maybe all that is needed is an additional transformer at the current Talbot transformer in Renton, as former PSE VP for Power Planning, Rich Lauckhart, contends. The most astounding piece of information PSE has deliberately hidden: WE DON’T NEED ANY MORE 230kV or 115 KV POWER LINES ON THE EASTSIDE, the existing network of 115kV lines (and there are many more than shown on PSE maps) just need to be energized with existing generators in Western Washington in peak load moments.

PSE says we need to have a transformer at Lakeside to transform an added set of 230kV lines from EE to more 115kV power. But the Eastside is already abundantly supplied with more than enough 115kV lines, and all we have to do is turn on the Western Washington gas-fired generators PSE already has and the extreme peak moment problem is solved. As bad as USE’s load flow studies were, they do prove this point.

Yes, according to its own 2013 Integrated Resources Report to the WUTC, PSE will still need to add some 1500MW of new generation in the near future to meet growth as understood in ordinary (supply and) demand concepts, but that is a different issue, and building 18 miles of new transmission lines does not create new power generation. The needed additional 1500MW can be obtained by building new plant or plants near where the load is in Bellevue.

3. The “need” to accommodate 1500MW to Canada — now you see it, now you don’t. One of the huge myths promoted by PSE is that EE has to be built to allow transmission of up to 1500MW of electricity from the US to Canada. They say a 1961 treaty with Canada requires that. But that is simply not true. In 1999 the treaty was amended so that the power Canada would be entitled to is sold in the US energy market instead; Canada has enough of its own electricity. A FOIA request to BPA confirms that Canada has never made a “firm commitment” request for any power to be transmitted to it, treaty or no treaty. Yet PSE has insisted in its load flow studies that reliability for the Eastside requires sufficient resources to handle this fictional 1500MW from south to north. USE, a consultant hired by Bellevue to do its own studies, found that when this bogus 1500MW is not included in their studies, the most that may be at risk is an overload at the Talbot transformer, which can easily be fixed with adding another transformer there (see highlighted segment):

USE flow study scenario with no Canadian 1500MW

Yet in other contexts, especially before city councils, PSE takes an opposite tack: EE is purely a “local project” with perhaps a “3% to 8% benefit” to Canada. They can’t have it both ways.

Hello King County PUD, Good-bye Puget Sound Energy!

It may come as no surprise to you that PSE has several infrastructure projects in the works besides “Energize Eastside,” all with maximizing profits being foremost in its strategies to keep its investor-owner Australians and Canadians happy regardless of the massive harm they are willing to do to us here in Washington.

If we succeed in stopping Energize Eastside, and the odds are shifting in our favor on that, PSE has in its back pocket plenty more of the same 19th Century poles-and-wires projects they want to ram through before too many people wake up and realize we could simply throw them out of here. That’s right, in the 2016 general election we can vote them out and start our own King County Public Utility District (PUD), just like the good folks in Jefferson County did!

If you think the time is right to reclaim our energy future in King County so the first priority will be listening to and serving the public, and no longer allow it in the hands of arrogant, greedy and uncaring foreign investors,  then check out www.kingpud.org and sign up for upcoming newsletters and our political action plans.

CENSE, CSEE File FERC Complaint over Energize Eastside

The fight against PSE’s insane Energize Eastside project began a dramatic new phase yesterday (June 8, 2015) when CENSE and CSEE joined forces to file a formal complaint against PSE, Seattle City Light, BPA and ColumbiaGrid for numerous violations of the Federal Power Act and Orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), especially FERC Orders 890 and 1000. The complaint asks FERC to stop Energize Eastside and make PSE start all over again. The reasons are many and detailed, and taking time to read the CENSE-CSEE v. PSE et al. FERC Complaint and the supporting Lauckhart Affidavit are well worth your time. Mr. Lauckhart once served as the VP for Power Planning for Puget Power & Light, PSE’s predecessor. He is one of the most knowledgeable experts in the United States in this subject area, and it will come as no surprise to you when you read that he thinks Energize Eastside is not needed, and there are cheaper, more efficient and less environmentally destructive alternatives available that must be considered. He cites with specifics five very doable examples in his affidavit.

Mr. Lauckhart’s affidavit runs to 39 pages, with references to 28 documents as attachments to his affidavit. You can download the affidavit attachments here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mmpuekjyjjq9esi/AAAyQQkB-7PKjZhXIgRQ9uqja?dl=0.

Eastside Citizens Groups Demonstrate PSE’s “Energize Eastside” Not Needed

Before the Bellevue City Council last Monday, February 9, 2015, leaders of three separate Eastside community organizations took 5 minutes each to make the case there is no need for Puget Sound Energy’s “Energize Eastside” project, and better alternatives will be available in the time span from 2025-2033 in the event such a need might arise at that time.

For the Bridle Trails Community Club, Loretta Lopez:

For the Somerset Community Association, Jane Kim:

For CENSE, Sally McCray;

 

Print out these postcards and send them to Bellevue’s elected officials!

The City of Bellevue is the Lead Agency in the Environmental Impact Studies challenges to the insane PSE “Energize Eastside” project which is not needed and will destroy much of the Eastside with 18 miles of gigantic poles and wires that dwarf current ones. PSE wants to bring URBAN BLIGHT to the Eastside so it can profit from more sales of energy to California and Canada! We need to stop this project in its tracks.

Download this set of postcards to the City of Bellevue, print them out and send them — let them hear from you!

PSE not answering your questions? Let the Utilities Commission know.

We got this timely email from Eastside resident Keith Collins about what you can do when PSE stonewalls or blows smoke on the questions you have asked them about Energize Eastside:

“Greetings neighbors.  Many of us eastsiders are truly energized about PSE’s plan to stick us with a rate increase to build huge transmission lines through our beautiful Eastside neighborhoods for grid reinforcement and power wheeling profits.  For those of you who have been learning about what the true energize eastside project entails, you may have not yet received adequate answers to questions you’ve asked PSE on their energize eastside web site.  If you’ve been stonewalled like a number of us have then it’s time to escalate!   This gentleman would like to hear from you if you have already posted questions to PSE that have not been answered adequately or in a timely manner.  Roger Kouchi with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is ready for you to send your unanswered questions to him at:  rkouchi@utc.wa.gov   Please make sure you indicate when you sent/posted your questions and please include any follow-up PSE may have provided that you deem inadequate.  You can also submit your complaints online at:  http://www.utc.wa.gov/consumers/Pages/ConsumerComplaints.aspx …or by email at: consumer@utc.wa.gov …or by calling: 1-888-333-9882”

I am sending the WUTC copies of two emails I sent PSE over a month ago that still await replies.

Eastside Citizens Present Their Opposition to “Energize Eastside” to Newcastle Council

In two half-hour presentations to the Newcastle City Council, the first from the Olympus Homeowners Association on July 1 and the second from CENSE (www.cense.org) on July 15, residents who packed the council chambers voiced their strong opposition to PSE’s proposed “Energize Eastside” project. The Newcastle News covered both events in an article in its latest edition at http://www.newcastle-news.com/2014/07/31/energize-eastside-concerns-shared.

From the article:

“Keith Hargis, president of the Olympus Homeowners Association, detailed his community’s concerns, while more than 50 neighbors sat in the audience of the council chambers July 1.

“Hargis highlighted health, safety, easement, pipeline and aesthetic concerns with the proposed installation of 230 kilovolt transmission lines along Route M, which goes through Newcastle, and more specifically, the Olympus neighborhood.

“Along the same corridor sits a gas pipeline that supplies jet fuel to SeaTac Airport, and neighbors are worried that construction along it could lead to a disastrous accident, Hargis said.

“He mentioned the 1999 Bellingham pipeline explosion that caused about $45 million in property damages and killed three people.

“’I think for us that are living along that corridor, we’re very concerned with anything that could happen that’s even close to this kind of magnitude of an event,’ he said.”

* * *

“O’Donnell and Marsh [from CENSE] challenged PSE’s projections that electricity demand is growing at an annual rate of 2 percent. Marsh said that demand has actually been flat or declining, both on the Eastside and nationally, for at least the past six years, even with population growth.

“He added that a Bellevue study anticipates a rate of growth that is less than half of PSE’s projections.

“O’Donnell said he acknowledged the need for PSE to provide reliable power, but argued, ‘there are better ways to do it than industrially blight our neighborhoods.’”

CENSE Makes Its Case to Newcastle City Council

To a standing-room only crowd of Newcastle residents at the Newcastle City Hall, CENSE marshaled its arguments to the City Council why PSE’s proposed project can be safely delayed at least 4 years and probably much more, and the council should support efforts in Bellevue and elsewhere to hire an independent third party expert to investigate whether the project is needed and what reasonable alternatives exist.

Don Marsh of CENSE made the chief presentation with PowerPoints, one of which contains this powerful graphic questioning whether Eastside demand has plateaued and drastic increases in wattage are at all necessary:

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 12.51.42 PM

This flat-lining of demand parallels the national trend, as indicated in this graph from a Barron’s article at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-13/what-power-consumption-telling-us-about-us-economy:

Barron's national peak 2006

From the article: “US power consumption peaked in 2006 (red line), approximately in line with the peak in the US housing market, and the trend line has flatlined since.”

Here is CENSE’s press release summarizing the presentation, which was scheduled for 30 minutes but which wound up, following several questions from council members, to be 90 minutes in duration:

On Tuesday evening, July 15, 2014, CENSE co-founders Steve O’Donnell and Don Marsh were joined by Newcastle resident Larry Johnson to give a half-hour presentation that was highly critical of PSE’s proposed Energize Eastside project.

At the outset, they questioned PSE’s projections of electricity demand growing at an annual rate of 2%.  Demand has been flat or declining, both on the Eastside and nationally, for at least the past 6 years, even with population growth and fluctuations in the economy.  A Bellevue study anticipates a rate of growth that is less than half of PSE’s projections.

PSE also ignored the recommendations of their own reports that showed 56 MW could be saved.  That would delay need for the project for at least 4 years, and save rate payers $40 million.  “I’ve never seen a choice so stark,” Marsh said. “We can pay PSE hundreds of millions of dollars to deface our cities and neighborhoods, or we can ask PSE to implement the recommendations in their own report, watch the trends and evolving technologies for at least 4 years, and save $40 million.”

Even if growth proceeds in line with PSE’s projections, there are a number of alternative solutions that are transforming the electric utility industry.  For example, Tesla is beginning to market a residential-sized battery that can run a home during power outages and can reduce demand during peak usage hours.  Dean Kamen is about to introduce a dishwasher-sized Stirling engine that runs on natural gas.  It produces enough electricity to power a home, and it recycles the waste heat to heat water.  As residents invest in these and other technologies, the need for new transmission lines will recede.

At the grid level, large batteries are being used in projects in California, Hawaii, and New York City.  PSE recently received a grant of $3.8 million from the state to run a pilot battery project.

Another well-known option for addressing peak load issues is time-of-day pricing.  Marsh read from a study PSE did in 2001 on time-of-day pricing.  At that time, PSE was quoted saying the program would solve a crisis of exactly the sort PSE claims we are facing now.

Marsh noted that the Energize Eastside project includes no efficiency incentives or conservation proposals:  “PSE says there are no opportunities for conservation left.  The only solution is poles and wires.”  For a fraction of the price of Energize Eastside, targeted incentives could achieve the same goals, he said.  “That’s the smart choice when climate change and environmental impacts are a real concern for our children and grandchildren.”

All three presenters encouraged the city council to work with other Eastside cities and hire an independent expert to evaluate the needs and alternative solutions.  Many residents don’t know enough about the project, and cities need to educate their residents and keep them updated on developments as they happen.