• Electrical Facilities Planning

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    The City of Bellevue has the authority to regulate land use and, under the Growth Management Act, the requirement to consider the location of existing and proposed utilities and potential utility corridors in land use planning. The city must also plan for the provision of essential public utilities such as electrical facilities consistent with the goals and objectives of its Comprehensive Plan, taking into consideration the public service obligation of the utility involved.

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    Puget Sound Energy is underway with Energize Eastside, an electrical facilities project to site and build approximately 18 miles of new 230-kilovolt transmission line from Redmond to Renton, through Bellevue.

    The city is engaged in the permit review of PSE's proposed Energize Eastside project. In addition, the city has approved construction permits for PSE's Lake Hills-Phantom Lake Transmission Line project (fact sheet).

    Starting in February, Puget Sound Energy and its contractor Asplundh will be conducting directional pruning of trees and phased replacement of improperly located vegetation on five circuits in the Bridle Trails area (see map below.)

    The 2018 adoption of a new Franchise Agreement and related Memorandum of Understanding for Vegetation Management practices guide this work. The MOU documents the value of defining and developing these working relationships through cooperation, planning, communication, and coordination. This quietly effective approach reflects Bellevue's OneCity ethic in service to our communities.

    It is implemented through an ongoing partnership between PSE, Asplundh, and City of Bellevue staff in Transportation, Parks and Community Services, Development Services, and Community Development. Staff from all these organizations met in the field to clarify expectations and standards for pruning practices for trees and vegetation, and for routine pruning or removal of vegetation within the Franchise Area or city-owned property.

    Property owners in the circuit areas have received information about the proposed work. For more information contact Asplundh or the City of Bellevue.

    Bridle Trails 2019 vegetation management circuit map       

    The 2021 electrical reliability workshop was held virtually on November 18, 6:00 - 7:30pm.

    The 2020 electrical reliability workshop was not be held due to COVID-19 protocol.

    The 2019 electrical reliability workshop was held on October 25, 2019, from 1-4 pm at Bellevue City Hall:

    The 2018 electrical reliability workshop was held on Oct. 12, 2018. The following reports were presented:

    Ongoing reliability monitoring is accomplished with Exponent's Overview of 2016 Electrical System Reliability.

    The 2017 electrical reliability workshop was held on Sept. 15, 2017, conducted via webinar.

    Ongoing reliability monitoring is accomplished with Exponent's Overview of 2015 Electrical System Reliability.

    The 2016 electrical reliability workshop was held on Aug. 19, 2016, conducted via webinar.

    The 2015 electrical reliability workshop was held on Aug. 6, 2015.

    On May 4, 2015, the City Council and public heard directly from Utility Systems Efficiencies, the independent consultant hired by the city to provide an independent technical analysis of Puget Sound Energy's proposal to upgrade Bellevue and the Eastside's electric facilities infrastructure.

    Get the report:

    The latest study--and the second independent study commissioned by the City Council--confirms a need for the project to address growth in Bellevue; to address the reliability of the electric grid serving the Eastside; and a need to address regional grid power flows.

    The USE analysis is the latest step in a timeline of process which has consistently demonstrated a need to upgrade electric facilities infrastructure serving Bellevue's growth and the Eastside.

    The first independent study to identify this need was the Electrical Reliability Study (ERS) commissioned by the city in 2011. Here is an ERS implementation Report Card on that study.

    We recognize that siting major, new infrastructure in a well-established city such as Bellevue is complex and will require tough decisions. A reliable power supply is important to Bellevue residents, businesses and stakeholders today and will be critical as we form our future.

    Public engagement is key to the city's electrical facilities planning. Go to the Energize Eastside web page to continue to participate and provide input in multiple ways.


    • The Phase 2 Draft EIS is now available on the EIS website.


    • The preparation of the Phase 2 Draft EIS is underway (Fall 2016). Publication is anticipated in the first quarter of 2017. The Scoping Comment Summary Report, Part 2 (Reopened) is available on the EIS website. The EIS team will use these scoping comments, in addition to those submitted during the initial Phase 2 scoping comment period, to shape the analysis of the Phase 2 Draft EIS.
    • The Phase 2 Scoping public comment period is reopened to allow the public opportunity to submit written comments on new transmission line route alignments, including new alternatives proposed by Puget Sound Energy to bypass the boundaries of the East Bellevue Community Council. See the Energize Eastside website for information and to submit comments by the August 1, 2016, deadline.
    • The City Council drafted and submitted comments to the Phase 2 Draft EIS 45-day scoping comment period, which ended on May 31, 2016.
    • The Phase 1 Draft EIS Comment Summary Report was issued April 14, 2016.The Phase 1 Draft EIS Scoping Comment Report provides a record of these comments. The comments received were reviewed and used as the basis for determining the alternatives that were studied in the Phase 1 Draft EIS.
    • The Phase 1 Draft EIS was issued on Jan. 28, 2016. Public comments were accepted on this document through March 14, 2016. The Phase 1 Draft EIS Comment Record is a compilation of these comments, which were reviewed and used to develop the alternatives proposed for consideration during Phase 2 Scoping. A Comment Summary Report has also been prepared which summarizes comments submitted and provides a brief response.


    • The Energize Eastside Phase 1 Draft EIS Scoping Report was issued on July 30, 2015.

    • The Energize Eastside Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)--led by the City of Bellevue in cooperation with Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond and Renton--has an independent website. It is the site for information about the EIS process for Puget Sound Energy’s proposal to site and build approximately 18 miles of new 230-kilovolt transmission line from Redmond to Renton, through Bellevue and evaluating alternatives to address the Eastside's power infrastructure needs and potential significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed project. The various member communities use the web site to participate in reviewing meeting materials, signing up for updates and providing comments. It provides multiple opportunities for public feedback.

    • Under state law and the city code, Bellevue is required to process the Puget Sound Energy project application for Energize Eastside.

    • Utility System Efficiencies Inc., the electrical power systems analysis firm hired by the City Council to provide an independent technical analysis of Puget Sound Energy’s proposed Energized Eastside project, briefed councilmembers on the report’s conclusions at a May 4, 2015 Study Session. The technical analysis confirms the need to upgrade the Eastside’s power infrastructure based on future growth projections, reliability of the electrical grid and regional power grid flows. The council commissioned the analysis last year after listening to issues raised by concerned residents. Utility System Efficiencies’ analysis is the second independent study requested by the council to confirm the need for a major upgrade to the Eastside’s electrical transmission system. The Electric Reliability Study, commissioned in the aftermath of the 2006 windstorm, reached a similar conclusion in 2011.

    • City staff provided Council with a briefing on Energize Eastside project updates including the Independent Technical Analysis, the EIS process soon to get underway and the Electrical Reliability Study on Monday, March 9. Find more information in the background documents. 

    • The City has extended its contract with USE Inc., the city’s consultant on the independent technical analysis of the proposed Energize Eastside project, to April 13, 2015. The purpose of this date extension is to allow sufficient time for consultant review and examination of PSE’s recently released 2014 load forecast and base cases and to run the optional technical analysis (USE-modeled analysis of alternatives to PSE’s modeled sensitivities and contingencies) on this updated information. The contract originally considered only the availability of 2012 information. City staff and USE Inc. power engineers are scheduled to present the independent technical analysis report during a March 30, 2015, Council Study Session.

    • Utility Systems Efficiencies, Inc. is well underway conducting the independent technical analysis responding to questions regarding PSE’s growth projections and electric load need for Bellevue and the Eastside. Their work will provide important information to City decision makers; the public will also have an opportunity to review the results of this analysis. The objective is to understand the following as applied specifically to Bellevue’s growth and the reliability of the electrical system serving it: How the purpose, need and timing of the proposed electrical system improvement can be specifically documented for Bellevue, evaluating the need for the project including assessment of forecast growth and timing for delivery of improvements to meet forecast growth and evaluating impacts to electrical system reliability. USE is being provided with stakeholder questions and comments around this issue of need and the draft report will document and respond to those need questions, comments and materials that were submitted before 5 p.m. on February 12. All submitted materials will be included as an attachment to the report.


    • The City Council adopted a resolution (8857) on Monday, December 8, 2014 authorizing execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Utility Systems Efficiencies, Inc. (USE) for the independent technical analysis of Puget Sound Energy's proposed Energize Eastside electrical utility facility project.
    • City Development Services Department issued a Request for Qualifications (14128) for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) expected for the Energize Eastside project. A consultant is expected under contract soon after the new year, with EIS 'scoping' underway by the end of January 2015.
    • The City issued a Request for Proposal (14133) for an independent analysis of Energize Eastside project need and documentation. A consultant is expected under contract by the end of November 2014.
    • City Development Services Department sponsored a meeting and presentation to describe and field questions regarding the environmental impact statement (EIS) process applicable to Energize Eastside on Wednesday, August 13, at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
    • City staff provided Council with a briefing on securing technical expertise to supplement the multi-jurisdictional EIS where necessary to address Bellevue-specific issues related to Energize Eastside on Monday, August 4. Find more information in the background documents.
    • City staff provided Council with a briefing on the policy and regulatory framework applicable to electrical facility planning and permitting on Monday July 7. Find more information in the background documents. Staff from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission also participated in the discussion with City Council.
    • Bellevue members of PSE's Energize Eastside Community Advisory Group participated in a discussion with City Council on Monday, June 16 at City Hall. Meetings of the CAG and its sub-area committees are posted on the Energize Eastside project calendar.
    • Bellevue hosted a Community Forum on PSE's Energize Eastside on Tuesday June 3, City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE, 7-9 pm. to hear directly from residents, business owners and other stakeholders. Here is the video and public comments document. Feedback received at the forum will be reported to the City Council and PSE and help guide the city's continuing engagement on the project. Here is how we asked people to participate.


    • PSE Integrated Resource Plan Advisory Group: City staff participates in the Integrated Resource Plan Advisory Group for the development of PSE's 2015 IRP. The city supports Washington Utilities and Transportation direction provided to PSE regarding transmission, distribution and public process.
    • City of Bellevue Conditional Use Permit Review: The city reviewed the 15kV Phantom Lake-Lake Hills conditional use permit application.
    • PSE Energize Eastside Website: The website offers regular updates and information about PSE's project, including a project overview, maps of proposed power line routes and documentation for alignment choices and other materials, EMF and undergrounding and getting involved in the community and subarea committee advisory process.
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