PSE planning a number of improvements on BI

Puget Sound Energy has a number of plans in the works to improve electric reliability on Bainbridge Island.

The projects will reduce frequency and duration of power outages, meet increasing power needs for future growth, turn ferries to electric power and deploy new technology to postpone building a new substation. That final part relies on consumers to help with conservation to reduce the carbon footprint.

The old Winslow Tap rebuild will continue, replacing aging infrastructure to improve safety and access. The 4.5-mile system supplies power to 3,500 homes and businesses on the south end of the island. Built in 1960, poles and new conductor wire are being put in. The system is on difficult terrain that is heavily vegetated, making outage response challenging, the PSE website says. The goal is to have it in service in 2023.

A new transmission line will be built between the Murden Cove and Winslow substations. It is called “The Missing Link” because the section did not have the same backup ability as other areas on BI. The route selected is the shortest one and follows road right of way. Because it already has existing distribution lines, it will impact the fewest number of parcels and is located within low-density residential zoning, the website says. It also has a lower tree canopy and minimizes impacts on schools and wetlands. It is expected to be in service by 2025 or 2026.

While early in the process, PSE is working with the state ferry system on electrification between BI and Seattle. PSE is planning a distribution feeder line solely for the ferry electric load. However, ferry charging will be curtailed when electric use is at its highest – such as cold winter mornings – to ensure customers at home have enough power.

Finally, to limit infrastructure, per the desire of BI residents, PSE is proposing a combination of battery storage and technology programs to delay the need for a new substation. The battery storage will add capacity to supply electricity when demand is highest. That is expected to be online by 2023.