The PUD has been working with the community since August 2015 to find a location for a new substation between Chelan and Manson. The existing substations, Union Valley and Wapato, serving this area are nearing capacity. A new substation is needed in order to redistribute existing electrical load and to anticipate further growth during the next decade.
At the March 6, 2017 Commission meeting, PUD staff presented initial engineering and cost comparison for three community-recommended sites. The presentation included proposed distribution and transmission line routes as well as renderings of what those lines could look like if a substation was located on any of the three sites. Placing a substation in an area away from the load center would require additional distribution lines to bring the electricity from the substation back to where it is needed. The analysis showed the cost and visual impacts of the additional distribution along with a better understanding of the need for additional easements. Commissioners heard concerns from community members about the visual impacts of the additional overhead distribution lines as well as taller poles.
PUD staff met with the Chelan community focus group on March 16 to provide an update and gather input on the current status of the process. Staff heard strong support from the focus group to continue looking for a substation site closer to the load center to decrease the cost and visual impacts from additional distribution.
On March 20, 2017, PUD Commissioners agreed the three sites under consideration do not meet the PUD's goal to provide the best for the most for the longest period of time due to aesthetic, cost and easement challenges. PUD staff will go back to some areas considered earlier that are closer to the load center and perform first-level engineering and cost feasibility. The objectives of looking closer to the load center are to reduce aesthetic impacts where possible, minimize the need for additional easements, take advantage of the proximity to existing distribution and transmission lines, and keep a reasonable overall cost expectation in the $7-8M range.
On May 1, 2017, staff provided two updates to PUD Commissioners. One on underground transmission and one on siting the substation. PUD staff and the community focus group are going back to assess earlier areas closer to the load center to determine if there is a suitable location.
We will continue to update this website and our outreach efforts via email and direct mail as we seek to reach a consensus for the much-needed Chelan-Manson substation site.