More and better power coming to Quincy

This column from General Manger and CEO Kevin Nordt will appear in the upcoming special section, "Progress," in the Quincy Valley Post Register.

Quincy has been keeping Grant PUD engineers, crews and contractors pretty busy over the last decade. Data centers have made this the county's fastest-growing area for electricity demand.

This corridor for ag and data processing requires energy 24-7 — everyday, all day — and we expect it could as much as triple over the next six to 10 years.

The substations and giant steel transmission towers we've built over the last decade greatly increased our capacity to deliver power to Quincy. Our challenge has been to keep up with area growth and make our electric system less vulnerable to power outages.

That'll change over the next seven years with our Quincy Transmission Expansion Plan and other planned improvements to make this area's electric supply more reliable. These are large investments us. We're still refining the costs.

We'll build a new 230-kilovolt transmission line from the switchyard at Wanapum Dam into Quincy's big Mountain View switchyard at the west end of town.

The new line will improve reliability county-wide by supplementing our existing 230 kV transmission network sourced from the Bonneville Power Administration's Columbia Substation near Trinidad.

The new 230 kV line, together with a couple new switchyards and other improvements, will increase power supply for future growth and greatly improve power reliability to all our Quincy customers.

When outages happen, be it from wildfire, equipment failure or a truck taking out a power pole, we'll be better able to isolate the problem and reroute power around it to reduce or eliminate outage time.

That's especially important for our industrial ag, manufacturing and data center customers who create jobs and drive community prosperity. For them, power outages can mean downed production time, idled workers and lost revenue.

But, hey, what if you're not a big industry? These improvements go beyond power reliability to benefit all Grant PUD customers, including homeowners, renters, irrigators and small and medium-sized businesses. Here's how:

Lower electric rates. Grant PUD's rate policy, approved by our elected commissioners, requires industrial customers to pay more than the cost to the provide their power. Just by paying their electricity bill every month these big customers provide the extra revenue we need to help keep rates lower for residential, ag and small-business customers, who pay below-cost rates for their electricity.

More jobs. A reliable, resilient power grid will foster industrial expansion and new investment. It's the best way Grant PUD can contribute to the county's economic development.

Security. A secure, reliable power supply dominated by renewable hydropower reduces the need for Quincy's data centers to turn to their diesel generators for back-up power if transmission goes down.

The Quincy Transmission Expansion Plan and other grid improvements in the works are significant projects for us. They're sure to contribute in a big way to Quincy's economic progress over the coming decade with enough benefits to go around. We appreciate your support — and patience — as we make this happen. 

Kevin Nordt, General Manager