Everyone is Questioning Overhead High Voltage Lines

Although most people in the developed world rely significantly on electricity in their everyday lives, most people do not want overhead high voltage power lines next to their homes, schools or places of business. When power lines are built above ground, unfortunately they will always be in somebody’s back yard.  There is probably not an overhead transmission line proposed that is not opposed by someone and in many cases by almost everyone who will be negatively affected by it. Check out RETA’s blogs and “Latest News” posts for just a few examples.

As the public becomes more aware of alternative energy sources that require either shorter or no transmission lines at all, or alternative transmission line construction technologies such as burying lines, they are putting more pressure on their political representatives, transmission companies and transmission regulators to change the way the power transmission industry operates.

RETA American Transmission Co. logoLocal residents and many others have urged American Transmission Co. (ATC) to bury high voltage lines to Milwaukee County Research Park, its hospitals and business corridor in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The Journal Sentinel reports that a coalition of political and civic leaders has come together to sign on to support a proposal to bury the lines. That plan is supported by the mayors of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, county leaders, Chief Executive of We Energies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Montessori School, and St. Theresa Church. The Chief Executive of We Energies said burying lines makes sense under certain conditions, particularly in densely populated areas. The Wauwatosa Council President said, “To preserve the city’s economic potential, it is crucial to have electric transmission lines placed underground to the greatest extent possible.” Although the ATC and Public Service Commission have grossly inflated the cost to bury the lines, the real cost is much lower – in fact when the capital, maintenance and transmission loss costs are combined over the life of a line, underground lines are less expensive than overhead lines (see this link).

RETA Southern Calif Edison  logoFor six years, Jurupa Valley residents and local politicians have been fighting a proposal by neighbouring Riverdale to run an overhead high voltage line through Jurupa Valley, “unleashing electromagnetic fields in the city and impacting the aesthetics of the fledgling city, which is trying to boost its commercial and retail development” (Press-Enterprise). Those opposed to the line have suggested alternatives, including burying the line. See RETA’s “Latest News” posts for Aug. 4/11, Aug. 10/11, Aug. 21/11, Sept. 1/11, April 1/12 and Oct. 30/12 for more on the Jurupa Valley battle.

RETA Idaho Power logoRETA Rocky Mountain Power logoAn overhead 1,100-mile-long high voltage line in Idaho is being contested by the Shoshone-Bannock Indian tribes and many others (Idaho Press Tribune). The proposed Gateway West line has been opposed for many reasons including: disrupting viewscapes, natural and cultural resources, sage grouse nesting sites and agriculture. State Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has accused the Bureau of Land Management of disregarding public input and demanded an explanation. See RETA’s “Latest News” post for March 7/12 for more on this line proposed by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power.

RETA APS logoCronkite News reports on opposition to a 38-mile-long high voltage line from Buckeye to Peoria, Arizona, proposed by APS. Opponents are concerned about the negative visual impacts of an overhead line as well as the negative impacts on the environment, including the endangered desert tortoise habitat.

All of the negative impacts of overhead high voltage power lines are essentially eliminated if they are buried.

~ by RETA on December 9, 2012.

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