- Study: Energize Eastside can be safely colocated with pipelines
Expert Confirms Safety; Submitted for Analysis in EIS Process
Puget Sound Energy announced today the findings of a safety study for the Energize Eastside project. The study conducted by DNV GL, a national pipeline safety consulting firm, confirms that Energize Eastside can be safely colocated with Olympic Pipe Line Company’s pipelines throughout the existing corridor. PSE has submitted the report for analysis in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process.
“Safety is our top priority. We’re encouraged by DNV GL’s confirmation that Energize Eastside and Olympic’s pipelines can be safely colocated within the existing corridor, just as we have done for the past 40 years,” said Jens Nedrud, PSE’s senior project manager for Energize Eastside.
“DNV GL’s safety study truly highlights the value of the EIS process where an issue is raised by the community, then studied by experts. It’s given us additional information to consider as we continue to evaluate our routes and design options for the project,” added Nedrud.
DNV GL’s detailed study considered project-specific variables associated with the upgraded transmission lines and Olympic’s pipelines. The study concluded that by optimizing the design and operation the route using the existing corridor, called Willow 1, falls in the low corrosion risk category. The route that combines the existing corridor with the Newport Way area, called Willow 2, falls in the “unpredictable” category, which means that corrosion may or may not occur, so Olympic would need to monitor the pipelines and determine whether pipeline mitigation is necessary in the future.
“We’ve learned that the Willow 1 route has the lowest risk of pipeline corrosion and avoids pipeline mitigation,” explained Nedrud. “The optimized design means slightly taller poles in Somerset, where we know safety, pole heights and views are key concerns. Pole heights would go up from the proposed 65 feet to 75 feet, which is still shorter than some of our earlier designs.”
As for optimizing operations, the study recommended that PSE should run both lines at the same voltage. PSE’s initial plan was to operate the lines at 230 kilovolts (kV) and 115 kV, respectively, with both designed to operate at 230 kV to accommodate long-term growth. Nedrud explained that PSE learned that for pipeline safety it is best to operate both lines at 230 kV from day one.
“We’ve learned a lot from this study. And, it is also one more piece of information for analysis in the EIS,” added Nedrud. “We look forward to the Phase 2 Draft EIS that will holistically consider all of the potential impacts and mitigation associated with the project. As the EIS process moves forward, we will continue to evaluate all of our routes and design options.”
Next steps for Energize Eastside
The project is currently undergoing environmental review, which includes preparation of a Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) EIS.
The Phase 2 Draft EIS is anticipated in the first quarter of 2017.
The EIS process is led by the City of Bellevue in cooperation with the cities of Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond and Renton. More information can be found at EnergizeEastsideEIS.org.
PSE will continue to listen and learn as the project and EIS process continue.