ARLINGTON – Arlington and Oso, you’re in line for an energy boost.
The Snohomish County Public Utility District this month started moving on a two-year, $23.6 million project that will add a new substation as well as upgrades to existing substations, distribution and transmission lines.
The project’s main goals are to modernize the power grid in the growing Arlington area and Stillaguamish Valley to the east, and bring more reliability during major storms to the system that supplies electricity to about 10,000 customers.
“This is a fairly significant project for us,” said project manager Bob Anderson with PUD’s Substation Engineering Division.
“The east Arlington and Oso communities are some of the most- challenging areas for reliability in the district’s electrical system.”
While the utility cannot guarantee uninterruptible power at all times due to forces of nature, Anderson said it can upgrade to help minimize power outages and their duration.
The high-voltage 115kV lines and substations in Arlington and Oso have aging infrastructure.
Anderson said the project required considerable planning to ensure that power won’t be interrupted during the two-year construction timeline and multiple stages involved.
Anderson said that behind the scenes, engineers will get creative in how they temporarily move customers from one segment of the power system to another during construction.
If all goes as seamlessly as planned, no one will be able to tell the difference.
The project will not raise rates for electricity customers because it has been in PUD’s five-year capital plans for some time, Anderson said.
PUD has another large project in the works that will benefit the north county.
The utility in 2018 plans to build a Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center in Arlington.
Funded through a $3.5 million Washington Clean Energy Fund grant, the facility will incorporate an educational component to promote sustainable energy and clean energy technologies.
Key components of the Oso-East Arlington-Eagle Creek project include:
• Construction of a new Eagle Creek substation, south across the street from the existing East Arlington substation, to allow for upgrades to the East Arlington substation. To be completed in January.
• Rebuild of the East Arlington substation with a high reliability six breaker ring bus, from July 2018-April 2019.
• Upgrade of the last of the legacy 55kV lines to 115kV lines between the Oso and East Arlington substations (1 kV is equal to 1,000 volts)
• Upgrade of the Oso substation with District standard 115kV equipment, which would start in July 2018 for completion in April 2019.
• Distribution uutomation upgrades, including additional fiber optic cable, as part of the district’s smart grid modernization.