- What types of environmental sensitivities do you consider in evaluating routes?
- Why can’t you avoid all environmentally sensitive areas?
- What efforts do you make to work with environmental organizations on a project?
- How do you mitigate the effects of construction on environment?
- What restoration work do you do following construction?
- What is Corona?
What types of environmental sensitivities do you consider in evaluating routes?
We gather information on wetlands, woodlands, agricultural lands, threatened and endangered species habitat, floodplains, historical, cultural and archaeological resources, state natural areas, lakes and rivers, and national and state wildlife areas, parks, wilderness areas, scenic rivers and forests. We also gather information on community characteristics and sensitive locations such as land use plans, densely settled residential areas, schools, hospitals, cemeteries, airports and flight paths, and private conservation areas.
We identify these areas in the early stages of route evaluation and later provide a detailed characterization of the routes we formally propose in our construction application. The information above is a summary, not an exhaustive list, of data we analyse.
Why can’t you avoid all environmentally sensitive areas?
Unlike locating a power plant or factory that has a defined footprint in a single location, transmission line siting requires development of routes over many miles, and avoiding environmentally sensitive areas entirely is not always possible. We must put together route segments across different areas in a way that balances the cost of construction with other impacts and makes sense from an overall perspective. A desirable route is one that balances environmental factors with other considerations, such as engineering, community issues and landowner input.
What efforts do you make to work with environmental organizations on a project?
Early in a project, our environmental staff will collaborate with regulatory agencies, landowners, communities and other stakeholders who may be affected by our projects to understand possible concerns. We believe the involvement of a diverse group early on results in a more thoughtful and acceptable project that has consideration for environmental avoidance and protection. We meet with conservation and advocacy organizations to establish relationships, discuss concerns, and incorporate input in the route selection process. This is taken care of at the early stages through an Environmental and social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study which is used to apply for a licence from NEMA. We also maintain communications during the regulatory review stage to address concerns and develop site-specific mitigation efforts.
How do you mitigate the effects of construction on environment?
Generally, we examine options for designing the transmission line in a way that can reduce impacts, such as using a narrower right-of- way or shorter poles. Concerns are typically site-specific. The design criteria can vary slightly depending on whether the concern is for right-of-way width (for example in a residential area) or pole height (for example near an airport. We reach out to environmental organizations such as National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) early to identify concerns, avoid them if possible, and mitigate impacts when necessary. The plans to avoid and mitigate impacts are submitted to various regulatory bodies for approval. There is also monitoring and evaluation continuously carried out throughout the construction period to ensure any unforeseen negative effects are promptly addressed.
What restoration work do you do following construction?
Construction activities may temporarily impact local landscapes, but we inspect lands after construction to assure proper restoration.
What is Corona?
Corona is a phenomenon associated with all transmission lines. Under certain conditions, the localized electric field near energized components and conductors can produce a tiny electric discharge or corona that causes the surrounding air molecules to ionize, or undergo a slight localized change of electric charge.