"They can be, but it's expensive," is the proverbial answer concerning underground power delivery, but the time is quickly approaching when utility customers and government officials will demand an answer that provides a more in-depth, independent look at how more expensive underground power delivery is compared with overhead power delivery. Changes will be precipitated by power outages associated with natural disasters, people who don't want their homes devalued by nearby overhead lines, and communities that are no longer prepared to accept the degradation of their environment.
There are signs that undergrounding is seen as a great advantage in certain parts of the country.
The electricity and gas markets regulator, Ofgem, is responsible for administering a £500m fund for GB electricity transmission owners to mitigate the impact of existing electricity infrastructure on the visual amenity of nationally designated landscapes. The primary objective of VISTA (Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets) is to use the Ofgem funding to deliver the maximum benefit for nationally designated landscapes in the north of Scotland transmission network. This will be achieved by delivering projects that offer significant reductions in visual impact, while avoiding unwanted economic and environmental impacts. VISTA represents an opportunity to reassess the historic electricity infrastructure within, and in some instances in close proximity to, National Parks and National Scenic Areas (NSAs), and to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of these important Scottish landscapes.
The question we have to ask the Scottish Government is "how do you value the landscape of Dumfries and Galloway" which is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland and where tourism holds possibly the greatest economic potential.
SSEN (Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks) are investing over £15m in a project which will see the undergrounding of 90km of overhead lines in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and National Scenic Areas in the north of Scotland and central southern England.
Under Loch Ken ?
Could underground cables save our countryside from march of the pylons?
Some of Britain’s famous landscapes could be saved from pylons after a new study for the National Grid found underground cables are less expensive than previously thought. Daily Telegraph 31st Jan 2012
6 years on the cost differential will be even less.
SP Energy Networks commissions underground cable study for Kendoon to Tongland 132kV Reinforcement (KTR) Project
SP Energy Networks has appointed Cable Consulting International (CCI) Ltd to identify potential underground cable routes as an alternative to overhead lines in certain sections of the KTR Project.
The areas which have been identified for inclusion in this study are as follows:
- Polquhanity to Kendoon
- Queen’s Way Crossing
- Bennan, Slogarie and Laurieston Forests
- A75 crossing
- Consideration of undergrounding the proposed Glenlee to Tongland route in its entirety
The study will begin in November 2018, and its conclusions will be considered by SPEN as part of the EIA process