Speak up to PSE
Some 40 years ago I was chairman of the Bellevue Planning commission. Conditional Use Permits, like the one sought by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to double the voltage going through the corridor their electricity shares with volatile diesel and airplane fuel, were decided by the Planning Commission.
A failed proposal could then be appealed to the City Council, but both the Council and Commission felt an obligation to citizens, not corporate profit. The current proposal that would expand the fiery risk and raise the industrial intrusion of tall metal towers into our neighborhoods would have been rejected. There were few appeals from our denials and the people could rely on the Council to protect them as fully as the Planning Commission.
Fort years ago, the Comprehensive Plan provided that, “single-family residential areas shall be preserved and protected.” That provision is gone. We now can only rely on the Hearing Examiner and the City Council to preserve and protect single-family residential areas. Three children in Bellingham died as a result of proximity of electricity and volatile fuel. We are now placidly assured that PSE will protect Bellevue from inherent danger.
The lure of profit make it hazardous to rely on their assurances. PSE’s investors will profit if the city can be persuaded to abandon its duty. If that happens, we citizens would likely have to bear the burden of a million people living on the Eastside in a few years and PSE’s profits would expand exponentially, enough so that PSE investors wouldn’t have much risk to worry them, even though we would.
Energize is a gamble
Puget Sound Energy’s proposed Energize Eastside (EE) would be a capital-intensive gamble with money out of the pockets of PSE’s customers. The project relies on yesterday’s technology to meet phantom future energy needs. Even if our future needs were real, there are new proven technologies which are cheaper, more flexible and won’t damage our environment. In fact, such technologies are being adopted by other nearby utilities. PSE has declined to seriously study these potential solutions.
Conservation, batteries, demand response (incentivizing customers to avoid using energy during peak demand), distributed generation (small, on-site, grid-connected energy generation and storage devices), more efficient building techniques as well as other new energy technologies and practices will easily meet any additional energy need we have in the future while improving overall reliability.
Speaking of reliability, most power outages are due to trees falling on power lines. A fallen tree won’t take out a battery. Small generators in office buildings won’t topple over in a windstorm. Practices that reduce energy demand are impervious to Mother Nature. We don’t have to choose just one of these approaches. All these things can be used together to address our future energy needs.
Let our city officials know that Energize Eastside is not the answer.