September 3, 2004
Scottsdale officials are urging Arizona Public Service Co. to steer clear of land targeted for expansion of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve as the utility makes plans for additional power transmission stations in the northern area of the city.
"Seeing those lines on the (APS) map just makes me sick because we’ve worked so hard on the preserve,’’ said Christine Kovach, a member of the city’s preserve commission.
Kovach and other commissioners on Thursday were shown maps marking three sites proposed for APS power substations and possible routes for new transmission lines. Each site is on or near state trust land the city intends to add to its preserve.
APS project manager Steve Goodman said the company is aware of the city’s concerns about disturbing preserve land. But increasing demand for power in the area will necessitate at least one new substation within three years and two more by 2014, he said.
APS’ proposal shows one 20-acre substation and two 2-acre facilities to be built in the area from Happy Valley Road north to Stagecoach Pass, and roughly from Scottsdale Road east to the 144th Street alignment.
Running power between the new substations and three existing ones in north Scottsdale could require two or more additional stretches of transmission lines across most of the area, Goodman said.
The lines would have to be strung on 60-foot poles in areas where they could not be put on existing utility towers. Goodman emphasized that the plans were preliminary.
APS studies show power demand in north Scottsdale has increased by almost 20 percent in the past five years, a rate that threatens to strain the capacities of existing substations, he said.
At least one factor in the growing demand is the number of large residences being built in north Scottsdale and the increasing amounts of electronic equipment being used in the homes, he added.
Preservation advocates will push APS for more details on how it is calculating future energy demand, said Carla (her legal name), director of the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust, the nonprofit group that aids city preservation efforts.
"We need to be convinced there is a real need’’ for all three additional substations, she said.
An open house by Arizona Public Service Co. to show proposals for new power substations in Scottsdale is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Desert Canyon Elementary and Middle schools, 10203 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. For information, call (602) 648-2370 or visit http://siting.apsc.com.