Did PSE consider alternatives like batteries and solar power?

PSE studied a variety of alternatives such as reducing demand through continued conservation, increasing the capacity of PSE’s existing electric transmission lines, generating energy locally, and building new infrastructure.

  • Using batteries instead of building a new substation was considered, but the technology has not been used for the type and scale of problem facing the Eastside. Despite the progress made by the energy storage industry in recent years, an updated analysis concluded that battery storage is still not a practical solution to meet the Eastside transmission system capacity deficiency.
  • PSE also looked at “time-of-use rates” and other incentive programs to reduce the demand. Time-of-use rates, which entail charging customers more to use energy during higher-energy use times, have also been tested by PSE on the Eastside; however, these programs were largely unpopular with customers.
  • Solar power and other distributed generation efforts were also investigated as a possible solution. However, solar panels don’t generate electricity during the peak hours of electricity use, which occurs on winter mornings and evenings, and can be very expensive. Additionally, some homes cannot support the weight of solar panels or do not have the correct orientation.
  • Other generation efforts explored would require building a 300 MW power plant and new transmission lines on the Eastside. During the solutions analysis process, PSE did look at building a natural gas-fired power plant in the Eastside area, but unfortunately, it either would not be permittable due to atmospheric emission and noise incompatibility, or it did not solve the identified capacity problem. New transmission lines would still need to be built to connect the power plant to the rest of the system.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process studied project alternatives in both Phase 1 and Phase 2. For more information about alternatives studied in the EIS, visit EnergizeEastsideEIS.org.