Grant PUD to have meetings on Royal power line

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EPHRATA — Residents of the Royal City area will be invited to two meetings in late January and early February to talk over the options for a transmission line route to the new Red Rock substation.

Meeting dates and times will be announced. The meetings will be held at the Port of Royal Slope offices, 4975 Road 13.5 Southwest.

The new substation will be southeast of Royal City along Highway 26, but will need power to it before it can distribute power to customers. Utility district employees have been studying possible routes for a new transmission line, and project manager David Klinkenberg reviewed the results for PUD commissioners Tuesday.

The Royal City area has an existing 115-kilovolt line running from the Frenchman Hills to the Royal substation. There’s also an existing 230-kilovolt line that provided another possible route. Klinkenberg said the study had found 84 possible routes, but that after further study those had been narrowed down to three.

All three options start at the Frenchman Hills substation. One option would route the line through the area of Road D Southwest, a second through the area of Road E Southwest. The third would be routed through the area of Road F Southwest before connecting back to Road D Southwest.

Klinkenberg said the study recommended starting at Frenchman Hills because it would be easier to maintain, improve reliability and have less impact on the surrounding area.

All three routes will be presented at the public meetings to get the opinions of Royal City-area residents. The presentations will include information about the factors that went into selecting each route. Community responses will be factored into the selection process, Klinkenberg said.

The goal is to have a recommendation for commissioners by April, he said. Construction of the line is projected to be completed by 2022.

Commissioner Larry Schaapman asked if the PUD already had easements along the proposed routes. Klinkenberg said there were easements along part of one proposed route.

Commissioner Dale Walker asked if the employees who conducted the study had a preferred option. Klinkenberg said they didn’t yet; they wanted to hear from Royal City residents first.

Commissioner Tom Flint asked about the cost of the three options. Klinkenberg said there is a rough estimate of costs, but the cost of buying land and obtaining easements is still to be determined.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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