Chelan PUD Making Substation Upgrades in Growth Areas
Chelan County PUD is working to keep up with population increases by adding and improving power substations in growth areas.
The utility has more than a dozen new substations planned over the next 10 years but is focused on four locations over the shorter term.
PUD Customer Service Director Andy Wendell says the single biggest need is in western Wenatchee.
"Primarily residential housing in the western foothills and the western side of Wenatchee," said Wendell. "I would say that that is where we're seeing the fastest growth, and that's where we'll need to show the most responsiveness in terms of responding to that new development."
One housing project alone in western Wenatchee is bringing 450 residential units onto the market in the form of single-family homes, duplexes and multi-family residences.
The other three areas that'll be getting new or improved substations are the north side of Lake Chelan, Leavenworth and downtown Wenatchee.
A typical new substation can accommodate 1,500 new customers.
However, according to Wendell, the substations work as a network. A new substation will be added to the mix of three that are already in place in western Wenatchee.
He says a trend in Wenatchee has been a move toward more multi-family housing. A change in demographics has led to more higher density units.
"The city has adopted new plans to allow construction in some cases as small as a three-thousand square-foot lot, Wendell said. "In addition, maybe more multi-family housing, duplexes or apartment complexes, which equates to a higher density within the city footprint."
The PUD also has the ability to repurpose existing substations to double their output. One substation at the south end of Worthen Street is being refurbished to double its capacity in order to handle the growth in downtown Wenatchee.
One such project is a former large scale tree fruit operation - the former Columbia Colstor - which is being torn down to make way for a 450–500-unit complex composed of five story buildings. It's known as Riverfront Village.
The PUD plans to have all four substation upgrades in western Wenatchee, downtown Wenatchee, Leavenworth and the north side of Lake Chelan completed in the next two years.
Another area that will need significant upgrades to its power supply infrastructure is Malaga, with is slated to be home to a six building Microsoft cloud date center.