PUD board reviews Diamond Foundry power needs

by Kimberlee Craig | Apr 29, 2019

With a new industry looking to start production in Wenatchee, Chelan County PUD commissioners on Monday reviewed the agreements needed to provide up to 19 megawatts of power to the Diamond Foundry by the requested date of March 2020. The firm’s power needs would require a new substation at that time.  

The gemstone manufacturer is leasing space from Stemilt to set up its new plant in Wenatchee. The property owner proposed a customer-built substation to power the operation because there is not enough PUD substation capacity to meet the load at that location. (At about 02:05 on the board meeting audio recording.)

“We welcome the Diamond Foundry and the employment opportunities it brings to our community,” said General Manager Steve Wright.

Chad Rissman, Distribution asset director, outlined the significant teamwork with Stemilt needed to meet the requested timeline to build the new substation. Rissman also updated commissioners on the work done so far.

The PUD, Stemilt and City of Wenatchee planners have determined the best location is next to the PUD’s North Wenatchee Substation off Hawley Street. It is close to transmission lines and supports the city’s long-range plans for Confluence Parkway.

Stemilt recently told the PUD that transformers are ordered and are expected to arrive in September. Chelan PUD usually plans 18 months of lead time to energize a substation once transformers are ordered.

Meeting the requested date to energize the new substation by March 2020 would heavily impact PUD work already planned, Rissman said.

Three agreements with Stemilt are needed to proceed, plus a large-load power contract with Diamond Foundry. Electricity pricing will be based primarily on the high density load rate adopted in 2017.

PUD staff are targeting the May 13 meeting to seek board approval of the Stemilt agreements and June 3 for action on the Diamond Foundry power contract.  

In other business, commissioners:

  • Reviewed first quarter financial results. Bottom-line results are $17 million better than budget with power contract revenues offsetting impacts of low stream flows, generating unit outages and higher retail demand from cold, early spring temperatures, said Mark Mullins, Enterprise Risk Management director. (00:36)
  • Received an update on strategic planning. Work is on track to complete the plan in late summer. (01:45) Commissioners also reviewed survey results on approaches to aesthetics and supporting economic development. (01:20) In late May, all customers will be asked to give their opinion on the PUD’s proposed direction for the next five years.
  • Set a special meeting at 1 p.m. on May 29 to meet with Chelan County and Port commissioners at Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Way, Wenatchee. (03:05)

Upcoming events:

  • May 13 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. (rescheduled)
  • May 25 – Kids Fest, 10 a.m., Walla Walla Point Park
  • May 29 – Tri-Commission meeting, 1 p.m., Confluence Technology Center
  • June 3 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m.
  • June 13 – PUD Night at the Apple Sox


The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 13, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.


Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at Find us at and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.

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