Building Power Lines in 21st Century with 20th Century Technology
Daniel Mackay, director of public policy for the Preservation League of New York State, was recently quoted as asking, “…why do utility companies seek to continue to build utility grids in the 21st century with 20th-century technology? Where is the innovation, such as more efficient cables, or underground lines, that are in use in other locations?” (Metroland) Although Mackay was speaking specifically about New York State Electric & Gas’ proposed new overhead Columbia County Transmission Project, his comment certainly applies to the tens of thousands of other overhead power lines being built by transmission companies all over the world.
The NYSEG high voltage line would traverse a number of towns in New York including: Ghent, Claverack, Stuyvesant and Clermont. A grassroots advocacy group, Protect Ghent, was formed in 2012 to oppose the overhead line and to provide potentially affected residents with information. The group advocates for the preservation of Ghent’s scenic rural character, and for viable alternatives to overhead high voltage power lines.
Protect Ghent points out the proposed 115kV line would bisect multigenerational farmsteads and woods and streams, and mar the region’s picturesque viewshed. The line would negatively affect agriculture, tourism, over 100 historic houses and structures, conservation areas including wildlife sanctuaries, a thoroughbred horse and cattle farm, real estate prices, and economic investments based on unique community character. As well, the line is expected to decrease forest cover, disturb wetlands and reduce farm-production capabilities. Residents are also worried about private land seizure by eminent domain (expropriation).
Visit the Protect Ghent website for more information. Best wishes to the group as they battle the proposed overhead Columbia County Transmission Project.