PSE to increase capacity on NE grid

POULSBO — While there has been a noticeable amount of tree trimming on the west side of North Kitsap, the reason for doing so will help keep the area’s electrical grid from blacking out during fierce winter storms.

Puget Sound Energy is responsible for the trimming, as the utility company will be installing an additional transmission line to the electric grid in the North End by early 2006.

The new line will run from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to the company’s Foss Corner substation, just off Stottlemyer Road. Transmission lines feed into substations that are placed strategically around the county and provide energy to all customers.

The new line is designed to address energy capacity and reliability challenges to the area that is growing rapidly, said PSE spokesman Tim Bader.

“Essentially everyone in Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap will receive the benefit of this project,” Bader said.

The objectives are increasing the electrical transmission capacity for customers, helping reduce blackouts and brownouts in the area, plus improving reliability of PSE’s services, said PSE planning engineer Kebede Jimma.

“What happens over time is the capacity of the existing transmission gets used up,” Jimma said. “To a point you can’t support additional growth without having to build more infrastructure.”

When a line goes down, substations begin to lose power and cause the outages that residents experience in big storms, Bader said.

By adding a third line, it allows PSE the flexibility if one line is lost due to an outage, other transmission lines along the same circuit can pick up the load and help prevent the large outages.

Jimma cited January 2003 as an example, when there was the big snow and windstorm-related power outage.

“This project will alleviate that kind of wide area outage,” he said.

PSE has also applied to the City of Poulsbo's planning department for a conditional use permit to build a new substation at the intersection of Lincoln Road and Maranatha Lane. The site would contain a substation that includes electrical structures, a transformer, drainage system, a spill containment system, fencing and perimeter landscaping. Three new poles, between 55 and 65 feet in height, will connect the new substation with the existing transmission line along the east side or Marantha Lane.

A tentative city council public hearing on the application is Nov. 16.

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