The Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy (CENSE) members voiced concerns about an Energize Eastside article in March suggests that Puget Sound Energy (PSE) responded to the plan (Alternative 2B) submitted by CENSE with appropriate seriousness. This is not the case.
PSE has not provided detailed feedback nor allowed for an honest dialog regarding the CENSE plan. Instead, PSE has dismissed the plan based on absurd assumptions, e.g., that a single battery would be used for peak demand management, which are not at all implicit in the plan. Also, PSE dismisses viable solution components such as solar because they do not generate power during peak times. This is precisely why any modern energy solution includes advanced battery technology as many utilities across the country have demonstrated. This point is ignored in the PSE analysis.
PSE’s proposal is a 20th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. PSE claims that it is required to satisfy future Eastside energy demands. The proposal includes new transmission lines and new fossil fuel generation plants, all of which would be an appropriate response 50 years ago. At least some of the generation plants would needlessly add to our regional carbon footprint and function only periodically at peak times. The CENSE plan is based on deep technical expertise and demonstrates that oversized, carbon-producing and relatively unreliable infrastructure as proposed is unwise and unnecessary.
Today, regions and utilities across the country have successfully implemented new cost-effective technologies that manage peak energy demand. These comprise key elements of the CENSE plan. Simply put, established technologies obviate the need for the Energize Eastside project.
In addition to being expensive and unnecessary, the PSE project would introduce significant environmental and safety risks. CENSE has submitted 18 safety-related questions to the second-phase of the environmental impact statement study for the PSE proposal. The utility has yet to respond to these questions.
The Eastside needs to be smart about the investments we make to ensure a secure energy future. We can do much better than PSE’s proposal.
David Schwartz, Ph.D.