Seattle City Light crews are working today to reduce the risk of additional damage to the Skagit Hydroelectric Project from the advancing Goodell Creek Fire and are preparing to start repairs to damaged transmission lines.
Crews are working to clear vegetation around a wood pole line between the Diablo and Ross dams and powerhouses. The crews also plan to wrap the 70 wood poles in fire resistant material to reduce the risk of damage should the area burn. The line delivers backup power to restart generators and run control panels. The poles also carry fiber optic communications lines for the facilities.
Thursday, crews plan to start on-the-ground inspections of 11 transmission towers for damage. Aerial views indicate that several of the towers have been damaged.
Safe access to the equipment in rugged terrain with fallen trees while the fire continues to burn is the first consideration for any of the work to take place. Provided with safe access, crews could start making repairs to the transmission lines by Saturday.
Damage to the transmission lines has limited City Light’s ability to generate and deliver power from the Skagit Hydroelectric Project. The utility has been able to resume generation of about 40 megawatts of electricity from its Gorge Powerhouse and deliver it on the North Mountain transmission line.
Typically, this time of year, the utility would be able to generate about 150 megawatts of power from the Skagit. The loss of transmission capacity is costing the utility about $100,000 a day.
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.