Seattle City (spot)Light: Igor Bulanyy

Senior Electrical Engineering Specialist Igor Bulanyy is no stranger to the trade. Celebrating his five-year anniversary with the utility this year, Igor’s rich knowledge of the sector includes a Master’s degree in electrical engineering from Kiev Polytechnical Institute and more than 45 years of industry experience. “I’ve being doing electricity my whole life,” said Igor. “I became interested in it in 8th grade as a hobby and then it became my profession.”

Igor works out of the North Service Center Annex and lives in Edmonds with his wife. In this week’s (spot)Light, he shares his interests, including one buzz-worthy passion: beekeeping.

Igor with an educational poster he made about the benefit of bees and their impact


“I’ve been lucky to meet good people at City Light. My partner Carey Deutscher was (and still is) my main mentor in this position. Our job duties are challenging. We investigate and interpret any power quality related issues for our customers. Things like radio frequency interferences and electromagnetic fields. My personal interpretation of this position is an ‘electric detective.’ Every case is different which provides me with an endless opportunity to learn something new. It’s a challenge I really enjoy.”

“In 1995, my wife and I came to Seattle because we thought it had similar weather conditions as our home country of Ukraine. The combination of the forests, rivers, lakes and mountains with the city’s urban infrastructure gives us an opportunity to implement our optimistic intentions, hobbies and use our skillsets in the best ways.” “I have many hobbies, but my dominant interest is beekeeping. It’s something I was learning from my father for about 30 years. It was here in the states that I had the chance to take this on by myself and, over the years, the hobby has turned into a lifestyle—a permanent necessity.”

“I’m a member of the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association, and keep my bees in a rented backyard space in the university district. After work, I ride the bus and make a transfer to another bus to go take care of my bees. I do this at least twice a week and on the weekend. Right now, I have four colonies. I’ve had as many as eight hives at a time—it just depends on the seasons and the conditions. The number of bees per hive also depends on the season. During winter, there can be 3,000-5,000 bees per hive and in the summer as many as 50,000 or more.”

“I never use gloves when I’m with my hives. I like to feel the detail of everything. However, if there’s a situation where I get stung, I take it as a very good benefit. Among beekeepers it’s known that bee venom can help lower arthritis. Bees aren’t only about pollination and honey—they offer other health-related benefits making them irreplaceable on our planet and in our lives.” “I encourage beekeeping for two reasons. The first is to share my experience and knowledge with others. A goal of mine is to encourage and assist people throughout the utility to learn more about bees. The second is that we cannot survive without bees. The bee colony is the ideal society—interesting, multi-dimensional and followed by instincts only. There’s something to learn from them.”

Seattle City Light and the Office of Arts & Culture Announce Partnership with the Pollinator Pathway

The Creston-Duwamish transmission line.

Seattle City Light is partnering with the Office of Arts & Culture to work with design thinker Sarah Bergmann to develop a plan to create a Pollinator Pathway through City Light’s Creston-Duwamish transmission line right-of-way, a 60-acre, 14-mile long power line corridor stretching from south Seattle to Tukwila.

The Pollinator Pathway project is Bergmann’s response to the Anthropocene (the Age of Humankind), during which we have fundamentally altered the ecological landscape of the planet. The project is a proposal to thoughtfully and intentionally design a lasting ecological system, crossing design, culture, ecology and planning. The Pollinator Pathway challenges us to connect the current fragmentation of ecosystems with planned connections between existing green spaces, designing ecological exchange into these systems. Pollinators – the native bees, bats, butterflies, moths and more of the world – are essential and their presence is a good indicator of ecosystem health.

“The Creston-Duwamish Line restoration is an ideal incubator to demonstrate how transmission corridors can contribute to a healthier ecology,” said Rory Denovan, a senior environmental analyst for City Light. “We take great pride in being the nation’s greenest utility and we view The Pollinator Pathway’s criteria as a challenge we can meet.”

Bergmann is creating a set of criteria and principles for City Light to meet in the landscape design of the transmission line. Bergman has engaged design firm Mithun and the conservation organization Xerces Society to provide oversight and guidance as City Light works to achieve Pollinator Pathway status.

“I’m delighted to be working with Seattle City Light, Office of Arts & Culture, Mithun, and Xerces Society on this project,” said Bergmann. “It’s an incredible opportunity to prove that the Pollinator Pathway methodology is both scalable and transferrable. By contributing to an ecological system that connects the world’s landscapes, we also ease heavy dependence on the domesticated honeybee.” The Pollinator Pathway project brings together designers, planners and ecologists.

“The Pollinator Pathway pushes institutions to design as an integral part of the earth’s ecosystem,” says Bergmann. “This change in perspective will have a profound impact as agencies like Seattle City Light focus on long-term plans that create a foundation and new standard for supporting ecological exchange and biodiversity in the world we see today. Participants in the Pollinator Pathway are contributing to a new ecosystem in a global story about nature in our time. I view this as a cultural story—and a scientific one. The Pollinator Pathway challenges us to connect fragmented landscape in a response to the Anthropocene—a newly proposed epoch where all of earth’s systems have been touched by humanity. Nature is not “over there”—it is us.”

Creating Buzz Along City Light’s Creston-Duwamish Transmission Line

Seattle City Light is working with partners to enhance habitat for native pollinators like this bumble bee.

Seattle City Light is working with a host of stakeholder groups to create a lot more buzz along the corridor for the utility’s Creston-Duwamish transmission line, which runs from South Seattle to Tukwila.

The collaboration is aimed at improving habitat in the area for native bees and other pollinators.

City Light is working with The Common Acre, Earth Corps, Veterans Conservation Corps, the City of Tukwila, Forterra and the Friends of Duwamish Hill on the project. Work includes a survey of existing vegetation and pollinators; removal of non-native or invasive plants; and planting native vegetation that supports native pollinators, such as mason bees, bumble bees and butterflies.

“Specifically, we are looking at how pollinator habitat impacts management of tree species and invasive weeds and then how effective are the habitat improvements at increasing the number of bees and butterflies,” City Light Senior Environmental Analyst Rory Denovan said.

A researcher from The Common Acre collects a bee from the Creston-Duwamish transmission right of way.

Additionally, the utility hopes the native plants will suppress the growth of invasive weeds and trees, reducing the risk that those plants would grow into the transmission lines where they could disrupt service,  Denovan said.

A researcher identifies a bee collected from City Light’s transmission right of way.

The project started as part of the Enhanced Environmental Leadership Initiative outlined in City Light’s six-year Strategic Plan and is a cooperative effort between City Light’s Vegetation Management unit and Environmental Affairs and Real Estate Division.  “This program builds on the long history of partnerships and habitat expertise that City Light Vegetation Management staff have developed over the years,“ Denovan said.

The utility created a Community Stakeholder Team to identify opportunities for additional environmental engagement. Team member Bob Redmond, who is the executive director of The Common Acre, pitched the idea of improving habitat for pollinators, and the project took flight.

Volunteers plan native plants for pollinators near City Light’s Duwamish Substation.

The Common Acre has been working with the Port of Seattle since 2011 on a similar project called “Flight Path” that uses open space near SeaTac International Airport for honeybee hives and habitat restoration with native plants such as goldenrod, big leaf maples and rhododendron, to support native bees.

Read The Seattle Globalist story about Common Acre’s efforts here.

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.