Burying High Voltage Power Lines

RETA burying lines construction photoMany individuals and groups have contacted us recently, indicating that the electricity transmission company they are battling with has told them there are no examples of successfully buried 500 kilovolt or 400 kilovolt power lines. Many transmission companies will not make such information available to their customers and instead repeat the transmission industry mantra that it isn’t technically feasible and it is too expensive to bury high voltage power lines. Do not believe any transmission company that makes such claims.

Firstly, there are thousands of examples of successfully buried 240 kilovolt transmission lines and lines of lower voltage. Many cities and towns around the world have many miles and kilometres of buried high voltage lines, especially in densely populated and commercial areas. As transmission companies look to build higher voltage lines – 500kV and 400kV – more and more residents , businesses and governments are calling for these lines to be buried because the higher voltage towers and lines are usually much taller and more unsightly, and hence have increased negative impacts (e.g., health, safety, visual, environmental, property value, inclement weather, tourism, agriculture (crops), livestockaircraft, pipelines, economic development). The standard response by many transmission companies to requests for undergrounding these higher voltage lines is, “it can’t be done” or “it hasn’t been done before”.

RETA towers many photoFor those of you who are confronted with transmission companies that are reluctant to share undergrounding information or perhaps are even providing misinformation about the undergrounding technologies and costs, we encourage you to visit our “Burying High Voltage Lines” link or “Bury power lines” home page search category. And for those of you who have been told by transmission companies that there are no successfully buried 500kV or 400kV lines, we attach this list with over a dozen examples of the many successfully buried 500kV lines, and this list with 10 of the many successfully buried 400kV lines. For technical details of another successfully buried 40-kilometre-long 500kV line in Tokyo see Yonemoto et al. 2003.

When the capital, maintenance and transmission loss costs are combined over the 50 to 60-year life of a line, underground high voltage lines are often less expensive than overhead lines. High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) lines are even easier and cheaper to bury than High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) lines. We bury sewer lines, water lines, telephone lines, electricity distribution lines, TV cable, natural gas lines,  oil pipelines, gas pipelines, and other petroleum product pipelines. It’s time we started burying more high voltage transmission lines (AC and DC) because overhead lines and towers are unsightly and have so many other negative impacts.

RETA Towers No More Bury the Lines logo

~ by RETA on December 20, 2012.

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