PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT NO. 1 OF CHELAN COUNTY
Leavenworth (Bavarian) Substation Community Meeting & Project Update
Leavenworth City Hall – February 13, 2017 – 6 – 8:00 pm
• Chelan County PUD Commissioners McKenna, Smith
• Chelan County PUD Staff: Vern Chamberlain Meaghan Connell, Suzanne Hartman, Becky Jaspers, Gary Rice, Shaun Seaman, Jeff Smith, John Stoll, Andy Wendell
• Members of the Leavenworth substation community focus group; city staff, the mayor and some City Council members
• Approximately 30 members of the public
John Stoll opened the meeting at 6pm.
Shaun Seaman provided an overview of the meeting purpose and desired outcomes:
• Community members informed about the process
• Receive input from the community on the three sites
• Gathered additional local knowledge of potential sites
• Confirmed next steps for this process
• Shaun Seaman introduced the members of the community focus group and thanked them for their work and perspective throughout this process.
Shaun Seaman reviewed what has happened since the November Community Meeting:
• The analysis of site 3 (the Rock Pit) was discontinued in December after the PUD was notified by the property owner that they were not interested in selling at this time.
• The PUD was contacted by the Upper Valley MEND Board with an interest in selling a portion of land within the parcel shown as site 14. This information was brought to the community focus group and they determined that they would like to move forward on the analysis of site 14.
Gary Rice presented on the consultant’s work.
• The cost was broken down into four categories; earthwork, substation, distribution (power going out of the substation), and transmission (power into the substation).
• The cost breakdown is an estimate and includes a contingency.
• Tucked into the back of Rattlesnake Hill and is located on a glacial feature.
• Site is on more than an acre and is sloped at 3.1%. This is not ideal but it can be managed.
• Earthwork is a larger risk because of large rocks on-site and a lot of material needing to be removed.
• There is room for expansion, a second breaker, and a transformer.
• The proposed site backs up to Club West.
• The surveyor identified a septic system on the property that has since been converted to city sewer.
• There is high ground water at this site. It is believed that those issues can be mitigated with appropriate design and construction methods.
• Site 14 was moved to be positioned as close to Rattlesnake Hill as possible and includes a 70 ft. buffer to allow for a future connector road.
• Distribution could be put on the same transmission structures. Underground distribution to Titus and the opportunity to add extra conduit for future needs.
• There is room for expansion, a second breaker, and a transformer.
• Located on PUD property at current substation.
• When a substation is built out there is a plan to put in a second transformer to add additional life for the substation, which would not be the case at this site. Site 9 is very congested and already has difficulty getting distribution out. Expansion at this site would likely be limited to only four additional circuits (four circuits per transformer).
• There is a high distribution cost for site 9 and includes adding a breaker—and-a-half configuration to have switching ability.
• Site 9 has is challenging. There would be a high risk of outages during construction, and switching operations would be more difficult.
Questions and comments from the public:
Q. Will this work be done by a contractor and so could these costs change?
A. The work will be done by a contractor and we will not know until the bids have been received. The estimates look at historical data and escalates it to future dollars, there is a 20% contingency included to the estimate and a 30% contingency for transmission.
Q. What if there is an earthquake?
A. Leavenworth sits in an earthquake zone and therefore the substation is built for that.
Q. Has work been done in the area of site 8a that helped with this analysis?
A. A trail recently went in and information was included from that project.
Q. When you did outreach for area 14 did you speak with everyone?
A. This property came to the PUD from the Upper Valley MEND Board. A mailing was sent out to those in proximity to the proposed site and there was personal outreach done to those in closest proximity.
Q. What are the circles on the map?
A. The circles are the areas of land that were identified for the site analysis and the squares are the actual sites.
Note: A community member commented that they did not think site 14 was buildable due to the water table and suggested going further east on the property. Gary Rice noted that it was not uncommon to have to put a drain around a site like this to address water issues.
Note: A community member noted that while site 14 is not considered a wet land, there is a spring that will drain onto the site if it is not taken care of.
Note: A community member commented that the standing water at site 14 and that the slope at site 8a should be weighted the same.
Q. A community member asked if ground work done at site 14 might potentially mitigate the ground water issues.
A. Ground work done at site 14 would mitigate some of the ground water issues regarding the site itself, and would be coordinated with other mitigation measures the City would implement as part of the connector road design planned to connect Chumstick and Titus.
Q. What is the life of a wood pole?
A. About 70 years if there is not a fire.
Q. Have you considered putting in trees to cover the area around the substation?
A. Planting trees around a substation has been done for some. There have also been trees planted in locations to block the view of the substation for specific homes.
Q. What is the distance between site 8a and 14
A. Unsure of the exact distance, but probably several hundred feet. Note that distance isn’t the only consideration in transmission cost. Certain transmission structures are more expensive than others, and will add to cost.
Q. PUD owns the whole hillside where site 9 is located. What was the logic in trying to place it in with the current substation?
A. If the decision was made to use this area, look at doing a different configuration. The issue with the area overall is that it is difficult to get distribution out and we would have to come back to the community sooner with a request for more power; both site 8a and 14 offer room for expansion that site 9 does not have.
Q. Where will the lines intersect to the Chumstick to access existing distribution?
A. They would go to different locations and would come out somewhere near the school with one designated over by Safeway.
Q. Why was site 9 given a “pro” for land use, and “con” for site visibility?
A. Site 9 got a “pro” for land use because it is already zoned properly since it would be at the existing substation. Site 9 got a “con” for site visibility because it is adjacent to an existing residential area. Initially site 9 seemed like a good location but it became less so once the additional equipment was added and the benefit for future expansion was removed.
Q. Would the additional equipment at site 9 add additional maintenance cost?
A. Yes, but it is also more difficult to operate from a safety standpoint.
Q. Site 9 does not give you the redundancy and there would still be a reliability issue and the same risk factor would exist?
Q. Redundancy in a sense for site 9?
A. We would not have true redundancy. We would be able to bring a mobile sub in but what we would not have is we would not be able to mitigate the risk if the only line went down. If we were to lose the one pole structure we would lose power to Leavenworth.
Note: A member of the focus group stated that the fact that site 9 does not allow for a second unit is a major flaw. “Site 9 is buying a short window where the other sites are buying more.”
Q. Are you concerned about security if you “put all your eggs in one basket”?
A. We are looking at expanded reliability.
Q. In order to prepare for the next load that is needed, if the PUD purchased 8a and 14 would that be suitable to take you through the next 30 years? –
A. Putting the next transformer in buys additional life and time before another site is needed. But yes, if we could we would want to buy both properties.
Q. Given the limitations to site 9, why did you not look at site 10?
A. At the time site 10 was almost the same as being at site 9.
Note: A focus group member noted that site 10 is the only area in Leavenworth zoned for light industrial and it did not seem best to use that for a substation site.
Q. Site 14 and 8a would impact affordable housing. Why was affordable housing not being weighted higher since that is a current need?
A. Housing issues were discussed by the focus group.
Note: A community member did not think anyone would want to build a house in view of a substation. A focus group member noted that there are things that can be done to make substations more attractive and the PUD knows that this will be part of the building of the new substation.
Q. Is the primary reason the PUD does transmission above ground because of the compliance and regulatory complexity of underground transmission? What is the cost difference?
A. There are regulatory requirements for underground transmission. The cost is considerably more for underground transmission and the PUD does not have the equipment to locate it. This has been discussed and a cost analysis was done; right now the PUD’s position is that transmission is overhead.
Overhead transmission is estimated at one million dollars a mile. For site 14 there would be underground distribution conduits run so they are ready when they are needed. A focus group member noted that underground transmission has been discussed in depth; outages would be three times longer and the PUD does not currently do this so why should it be expected for ¾ of a mile?
Q. With site 3 no longer being considered and since it was the only site to be on the edge of town; how big of an issue would it be to start over?
A. At the time there were no other willing sellers for that area. The sites that have been presented from an engineering analysis are still able to pick up the load and the redundancy they need to have.
Q. What is the urgency to get the new substation built?
A. The substation in Leavenworth right now in some cases is at full capacity. With growth and expansion the urgency is now.
Q. Is there ever going to be limit to the growth and what does that mean for the community?
A. The PUD does not drive growth.
Note: Mayor Farivar noted that the willingness of the property owner is a critical factor. The PUD has Eminent Domain and could condemn a property, the reason the PUD is doing this is to get a willing seller for a location. Land acquisition is a critical aspect of this process and it is very time consuming.
A focus group member noted that this has been a deliberate process and they would be very hesitant to start over. The site selection was broad base and then literally narrowed down to this corner of the map. Site 3 would require transmission lines across town which would have been met with resistance. Proximity is not the issue it is the redundancy. This redundancy will move Leavenworth forward and as loads shift the PUD will continue to respond.
Q. How many homes does a substation support? At what point do you need a second transformer?
A. The average substation supports 1,500-2,000 homes. Site 8a and 14 offer 40-50 year solution. Growth and expansion can happen on a new substation.
Q. What landscaping options are available for the new substation?
A. There would be community input on colors and landscaping.
Shaun discussed next steps:
• The PUD will take the information we have heard today and make sure we have not missed something.
• This effort is about bringing this information to the Commissioners who will then ultimately make the decision.
• A presentation about the site analysis and input the PUD has received from the community will be presented at the March 6 Commission meeting.
• Public comment is now open and will remain open until March 2. All public comments can be viewed on the PUD’s website.
The PUD will continue to update the website: www.chelanpud.org/NewLeavenworthSubstation
Contact Teka Sellers with questions and for other information Teka.firstname.lastname@example.org – 509-661-4294