From the Bellevue Reporter, another great cartton by Frank Shiers:
“Energize Eastside” is not the only big-ticket boondoggle Puget Sound Energy has been pushing on the Eastside in pursuit of its Australian owners’ insatiable greed. For the past 10 years, this investor-owned and investment-driven “utility” has sought to add a “redundant” line along Southeast 16th Street, 148th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street in Bellevue. This project with more overhead lines and wires would have required the removal of 300 trees older than Bellevue itself, further undermining Bellevue’s claim to be “a City in a Park.” (Energize Eastside, by contrast, would require the removal of 8,000 trees — a kind of “Agent Orange” result for the Eastside!).
Of course, ruining our environment is of no concern to PSE: for its foreign owners it is all about the bottom line. They don’t have to live here with the consequences.
When the East Bellevue Community Council (EBCC) decided unanimously in June of this year to deny PSE this ill-conceived and unnecessary Lake Hills-Phantom Lake Project by rejecting PSE’s conditional use and shoreline permit applications, PSE chose to ignore the will of the people and appealed EBCC’s decision to the King County Superior Court. On Friday, December 18, 2015, the judge dismissed PSE’s appeal on all counts, noting it was completely within the purview of EBCC’s power to reject the project as inconsistent with the city’s “Comprehensive Plan, its compatibility with the immediate vicinity and whether the proposed electrical utility facility would succeed in providing needed reliability.”
Kudos to EBCC for standing up to PSE and for the public good. PSE is so used to having sway over any regulatory body that is supposed to keep it in check that this court decision must have come as quite a shock. Let’s now see more of the same grit from our five city councils in denying the totally unjustifiable and fraudulently marketed Energize Eastside!
Here is how we imagine the PSE board meeting went when they realized simulations of 2018 Eastside electricity reliability requirements revealed no need for the boondoggle Energize Eastside project that would earn their Austrialian owners a Washington State-guaranteed return of a half billion dollars:
Created by CSEE as satire, this cartoon nevertheless conjures a scenario that was no doubt not far from reality. PSE did in fact add irrelevant, invented power flow to Canada (1500 MW) and turned off a dozen peaker plants in Western Washington in its simulated “flow studies” to create phony, skewed results to justify the $200 million Energize Eastside project. It could become the biggest fraud ever perpetrated by a public utility on its ratepayers and on the public in general.
Janis Medley, long-time Bellevue resident, says 16 of the 18 miles contemplated for PSE’s “Energize Eastside” project puts new 230kV transmission lines (four times the power transmitted in current 115kV lines) along with huge new steel towers, right in the same right-of-way and just slightly above the aging Olympic Pipeline Company’s gas pipelines that transport millions of gallons of jet fuel under high pressure daily. These old pipelines so close to the proposed new lines pose the same or even greater risk to life and property that led to the death of 3 boys in Bellingham in 1999, along with massive property damage from the enormous explosion and widespread fire caused by just one leak in the pipeline.
With several equal or better alternatives to “Energize Eastside” available without its life-threatening hazards, is it not the height of irresponsibility even to consider this insane project? In any situation, if there are two viable options A and B to do something, but A could possibly kill people while B wouldn’t, who in good conscience would ever choose A?
The problem with the Australian and Canadian owners of PSE is that as corporations they have neither a heart nor a conscience in their pursuit of maximizing profits regardless of the cost to us, even if that means killing us. They don’t care about what happens in Washington State because they don’t live here. But why do we have to put up with their sociopathic “Energize Eastside” project?
Remember, this is the same PSE that was punished with the biggest fine ever handed out by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission ($1.25 million) for intentionally falsifying gas pipeline safety inspection records for over four years! And they say now, “Trust us”?
We will use every legal avenue available to stop this inhumane project. Meantime, add your name in support of a King County PUD to rid ourselves once and for all of PSE by going to http://www.kingpud.org.
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 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):
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.
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.