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PSE transmission project to cover Eastside's future growth, consumption

As the Eastside continues to see a population boom, Puget Sound Energy will keep the lights on with an 18-mile transmission line project from Renton to Redmond slated for construction in 2017.

"We look at this and believe it will meet demand for 30 years or more," said Andy Wappler, PSE vice president of corporate affairs. "… We've been looking at this need for a number of years, but took a break when the recession hit because we didn't know where we'd be."

PSE projects Bellevue's central district population will grow by more than 275 percent by 2040 and Renton's by more than 36 percent in that same timeframe. Job growth is also expected to  greatly increase.

Community meetings will start in January with 2014 to focus on public outreach as PSE eyes 16 potential route segments from Renton to Bellevue and on to Redmond. A route decision is expected in 2015, Wappler said.

"The public outreach and permitting will likely take longer than the construction," he said.

The 18 miles of new electric transmission lines will run between an existing PSE substation in Renton and Redmond, and Wappler said the energy company will maximize its existing utility corridors to limit its need for additional property acquisitions. PSE already anticipates demand to surpass supply by winter 2017-18.

Wappler said the project is projected to cost $150-300 million, but will be worth the expense to cover PSE's growth of consumers expected to grow over the next 30 years.

"This is not something that is going to be a driver of rate increases for our customers," he said, adding a rate increase from the project would likely be 1 percent or less.

 

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