New Seattle substation powers tech industry

Due to its expansion over the past years, the city of Seattle decided to construct the Denny substation, which will provide power to South Lake Union and Denny Triangle. Seattle began budgeting for the substation in 2003, when then-mayor Greg Nickels and billionaire Paul Allen revealed a proposal to turn South Lake Union into a biotech center. According to Seattle Times, the Denny will supply power to Amazon, Facebook, and Google, and additionally back up the current network.

Although the new substation reflects a growth in Seattle’s tech industry, it still imposes an economic burden on the city. It cost $100 million more than the city initially estimated, but City Light, the company in charge of its construction, claims that the Denny is “an investment not only in [Seattle’s] electrical system but also in its values”.  In 2012, the city estimated a cost of $111 million, which later rose to $174 million in 2015. Finally, in 2019, the cost rose to $210 million.

Customers of City Light will experience a rise in rates due to the new substation. City Light plans to raise its rates from $65 to $85 by 2024. Part of the cost is due to its architecture, which due to pressure from the community had to be visually attractive. Additionally, the Denny substation also features a dog park for employees in the surrounding buildings to use.

The substation may attract other large tech companies to Seattle. As buildings incorporate the station into their power sources, the Denny should reach full distribution this summer.

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