Monday, July 13, 2009

Power Lines, What Can We Really Do About Them

I have disliked high voltage powerlines and the gashes they make through the countryside for a long time. They don't follow any natural features nor do they define any logical areas and only in urban areas do they follow streets or property lines and that because they were there first. They do have their good points, or so my father said, when they paid him a fair price and a decent yearly fee for an easement across the family farm back in the early '60s.

The smaller urban trunk lines can also be fairly ugly when they spring into view along some our major roadways like those being built on Euclid Ave to service the new UK hospital. I would think that they could place them underground on some stretches, but they say that it is cost prohibitive. A truly "green" building could help generate some of its own power so as not to require such a massive trunk line as they are building. As a follow up to one of my earlier posts, why does the University not lead in the development of alternative energy sources on all of its new building and the retrofitting of its existing ones?

This was all brought to mind because of the new plan for the property along Angliana Ave with the 12 cinemas, the bowling lanes and the 80,000 sq. ft. commercial structure(possibly a big box grocery, though they really haven't done well in the area). There is a major trunk power line right at the street edge and these building do sit a lot closer to the road than a suburban model would place them, the development would look a lot cleaner if the lines were buried. Then there is the situation with the "iconic" tower and restaurant near those same power lines. If natural alternative energy sources were used for this project would such a major trunk still be needed? Alas, if the old streetcar/interurban line still ran down Angliana would all that parking be needed?

I am not so naive as to believe that individual buildings can supply all of their energy needs from alternative sources, or even a major portion. I am just saying that any reduction in the need to move massive voltages through urban areas, and especially above ground, will make our city a much cleaner city.

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