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Hansville generator site is finally secured

HANSVILLE — After nearly a year of meetings, discussions, research, demonstrations and more discussions, the community of Hansville now has a location for emergency generators, should a cold snap hit the area next winter.

Puget Sound Energy reached an agreement with Pope Resources March 18 on a five-year easement to prepare and use a 12,500-square-foot parcel for the temporary diesel machines. The property is just north of Cliffside Road NE, off Little Boston Road and about three-quarters of a mile west of Hansville Road.

The nearest neighbor is one to one and a half miles away, said PSE spokesperson Tim Bader.

The area will need some minor clearing and grading plus the installation of two 40-foot poles as part of the prep work for the site, which is expected to be completed in June or July, Bader explained.

After researching five different sites within the greater Hansville area since last May, this is PSE’s final decision. The latest location came about after neighbors protested the use of the PUD spring site off Hansville Road last fall.

“(Little Boston) was the same site the (Kitsap County Public Utility District) helped identify after the decision not to go with the PUD spring site,” Bader explained.

This new location in the south end of Hansville has received the least resistance from neighbors since it was proposed at a January community meeting, he added.

Since discovering the need for a location for temporary generators last spring, PSE has been working with a task force of Hansville residents to secure a spot that wasn’t intrusive to the community. Residents were concerned about the amount of pollution coming from the generators and the impact to community’s health with each proposed location.

But since the announcement of this new site, no one has complained, Bader said.

The need for the temporary generators came from a 2003 study done by PSE, in which engineers found the operating capacity of the underwater cable that supplies Hansville with electricity from the Port Gamble substation was not as large as previously believed.

The company then began to develop long- and short-term solutions for new power sources for Hansville. The long-term plan was to add a second underwater cable. The short-term proposal was to use temporary diesel generators when cold weather threatened blackouts in the area or the cable was damaged. Temperatures would need to be below 20 F to warrant the need for just one generator. The site will allow for four generators in the the worst case scenario, which is the cable failing completely, Bader said.

As for the long-term plan to install a second underwater cable, the project is budgeted for permitting to begin this year with an approval process of two years, said PSE engineer Dave Terry. The cable installation would soon follow.

Hansville resident Becky Ellison, who has a vocal force in the generator siting debate from the beginning, said she is pleased with the final decision.

“I think they came to address (what) would best meet the needs of the electricity resources and community concerns,” Ellison said about PSE and the community working together. “I’m happy they have come to a decision.”

She added she is satisfied to see that the company has thought about the future, as she believes PSE didn’t have a solidified long-term plan last spring.

“They are working on the final solution,” Ellison commented. “I think that was not in the plan prior.”

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