Residents Worried about Power Lines and Tornadoes

The Red Deer Advocate reports that Gleniffer Lake landowners have raised concerns about the impact of tornadoes on AltaLink’s proposed 500kV overhead Western Alberta Transmission Line that would run 357km from Genesee to Langdon.

The landowners’ lawyer pointed out to the Alberta Utilities Commission the increased risk of tornadoes affecting overhead high voltage lines when the lines are twinned, as would be the case for about 211km along AltaLink’s preferred route.

Although AltaLink staff tried to placate residents’ concerns at the hearing, tornadoes and other weather events are known to negatively and seriously impact overhead high voltage power lines throughout the world. Some data even show that tornadoes are attracted to above ground high voltage transmission lines. For example, the tornado that killed 27 people and injured nearly 300 in Edmonton July 31, 1987, traveled right along multiple TransAlta high voltage transmission lines for many kilometres. Transmission towers and lines were ripped down by winds up to 330km per hour. The tornado caused between $6 million and $8 million (1987 dollars) damage to TransAlta’s transmission infrastructure. A substation was destroyed as well as 49 240kV steel towers, 17 138kV steel towers and 134 138kV wooden structures. There were millions of dollars in additional damages and in lost productivity due to power outages. An average of 8 tornadoes a year hit Alberta.

See this link for more details on the negative impacts of tornadoes, ice storms and other inclement weather conditions on overhead high voltage transmission lines. Human deaths and injuries and major power outages could be averted if electricity transmission and distribution lines were buried.

~ by RETA on June 24, 2012.

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