Seattle City Light is conducting an environmental analysis of the Denny Substation Project in compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The project is being developed in keeping with the City's land use plans and zoning, and will increase electrical capacity and reliability within the growing South Lake Union area, as well as the Cascade, Denny Triangle, Uptown, Belltown and First Hill neighborhoods. The project will also increase electrical system flexibility and management options to provide better overall system reliability.
SEPA provides the framework to compare alternatives and environmental consequences of proposed projects. This comparison helps to inform the project team and decision makers, to avoid and mitigate significant adverse environmental impacts.
The SEPA Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being prepared for this project will analyze three alternatives for substation design and three alternate routes for one new transmission line to serve the substation. The Draft EIS for the project is also evaluating installation of equipment called series inductors, at the proposed Denny and existing Broad Street Substation.
The first step in the SEPA process was public scoping. This process included introduction of conceptual alternatives for the project and the request for public feedback on the possible alternatives and on environmental topics needing study in the project EIS. City Light provided public notice of the EIS scoping period and held three scoping meetings during the week of October 22, 2012. City Light received 131 public comments which were mailed, Emailed, and provided via oral testimony during the scoping meetings.
A Scoping Document was then completed in late 2012, which described the alternatives being evaluated and how the public's comments would be addressed in the Draft EIS.
Preferred Alternative Chosen
City Light has now designated Substation Alternative 3 (SA3) as a SEPA Preferred Alternative for the Draft EIS. This decision was made based on substation design studies, meetings so far with the Seattle Design Commission, and feedback from people living and working in the immediate vicinity of the proposed station.
The identification of a Preferred Alternative will not limit the thorough evaluation of potential environmental impacts of all three substation alternatives. This designation simply alerts reviewers to which alternative City Light is most interested in pursuing, based on the best available information. The project is in an early design stage, and it is not unusual for changes to occur to design based on the findings of environmental review or feedback from regulatory agencies. City Light will seek to improve the project throughout design, prior to completion of the Final EIS. In addition to advancing the electrical design, the project architects and engineers will focus their efforts on design refinements that minimize environmental impacts, enhance public spaces, and meet the City's sustainability goals.
New Transmission Line Route for Draft EIS
During the public scoping process conducted in 2012, community members suggested City Light investigate an additional transmission line route option along the Interstate-5 (I-5) corridor. In subsequent discussions with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) staff, City Light's project engineers have concluded that such an alignment is viable and worthy of further technical investigation and environmental analysis. Therefore, the route has been added to the Draft EIS.
The Draft EIS is currently scheduled to be published in the first quarter of 2014. After the Draft EIS is issued, there will be a 30-day comment period when the public is invited and encouraged to review the Draft EIS and comment on its adequacy. City Light will also hold a public hearing to receive comments on the Draft EIS. More information about the Draft EIS schedule will be posted on this website as it becomes available.
To complete the SEPA process, City Light will issue a Final EIS in response to comments received on the Draft EIS. The Final EIS is now scheduled to be issued during the 3rd quarter of 2014. As with the Draft EIS, the schedule for this document will be refined as the project proceeds, and updates will be posted on this site.
Please check back for updates on the SEPA process and schedule.
For more information or questions about SEPA analysis for this project, please contact Kathy Fendt, Denny Substation Project EIS Manager, at (206) 684- 4257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.