Preston Collins wrote a Letter to Editor of the Nisqually Valley News, also submitted to the Yelm Community Blog on Puget Sound Energy’s power line project currently on-going around town. His letter brings up several important points for public review, based on a wealth of experience:
“I wish to call attention to Puget Sound Energys transmission line and substation project currently under construction. You can view a summary of this project at PSEs Web Site for this project.
I am a retired professional electrical engineer with over 40 years of experience in the electric utility industry. My early career was as a project engineer on projects such as this one. My later career was as a system engineer in an Energy Control Center . I also served as a management consultant for 10 years.
I noted this construction in late January and began my research. I offer the following comments and observations.
My first concern is the location through town. It appears that the route chosen may not have been the best and other possible routes not considered according to the project manager at PSE. A more suitable route might have been the old railroad grade through town. If you stand on the Yelm -Tenino Trail behind City Hall, you can see straight through town to North First Avenue where is crosses This route would have eliminated the line being placed on residential streets and a business artery and eliminated four expensive corner structures and about a half mile of line. It could have also followed the trail west toward Rainier to a more convenient transition point near Koeppen Road or 123rd Street .
An inquiry at City Hall revealed that there is the potential for the improvement and extension of Mosman Avenue that will require the relocation of a section of the new line should this plan materialize. The route along the railroad grade would have made this relocation unnecessary. To the citys credit the cost of the relocation will be at PSEs expense, meaning that PSEs customers will bear the cost.
This project also calls for a new 15-17 mile transmission line to be constructed from the St. Clair switching station (9512 Pacific Highway SE in Lacey) to near the intersection of State Route 507 and 123rd Avenue SE . A possible alternative is the construction of a tie to one or two of the four Bonneville Power Administration transmission lines located within 2.5 miles of the Yelm Substation (at the intersection of Railway Road SE and Middle Road SE ). Two of these lines are located north of town and run parallel to the Yelm Canal and the other two are east of town near Wal-Mart. PSE has an interchange agreement with BPA. Did PSE consider this option and perform a cost analysis?”
UPDATE: Feb. 25, 2011
Interesting that the newspaper opted to not publish Mr. Collins’ letter this week.