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Wise move or Inevitable

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Old Wednesday 31st July 2019, 07:09   #1
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Wise move or Inevitable

Should this scheme have occurred elsewhere or was it worth the risk? I know a lot of overhead power lines have been transferred to subterranean in the UK but in remote Mediterranean areas they still pose a threat.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2019, 07:40   #2
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Firstly...the same organization has 27 successful releases into areas with distribution grids similar to what's in the area in question.

I wish the article had more technical info than what's there.

The cost of direct burial would be vigorously argued. Even the feasibility. Cable size to begin with, increases exponentially due to heating when cable is encased or buried.

The cables are equipped with visual warning appliances.
Done with thought towards protecting birds.

some options perhaps, beyond direct burial...
-Better insulated cable assemblies
-Varying the spacing between cables...either increasing the air gap, or stacking vertically instead of horizontal plane arraignments.

All very expensive

I personally believe it was worth the risk.
Regrettable that this happened.
Some good could be learned and applied
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Old Thursday 1st August 2019, 18:00   #3
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My understanding of burying power lines is that there are serious problems with cooling - as mentioned by Bird_Bill. I had been told that buried power lines would need to be in pipes that contained a coolant - oil was the medium claimed when I was told this. Also, there would need to be additional infrastructure to keep the oil (or other coolant) circulating and then there may be the need to replenish/renew whatever medium was used. I'm happy to be corrected if I've got this completely wrong as it was some time ago I was told this - and not by someone who might be regarded as an "expert". No idea what the potential costs might be - assuming viability in the first place.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2019, 22:13   #4
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Hi Pyrtle,

Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
Should this scheme have occurred elsewhere or was it worth the risk? I know a lot of overhead power lines have been transferred to subterranean in the UK but in remote Mediterranean areas they still pose a threat.
Frustratingly self-contradictory data there. Was it an impact accident or an electric current accident?

Not much data on the power lines either. France is criss-crossed with countless low-voltage lines, and many birds actually like to perch on them in search for their prey. When it comes to high-voltage lines, these are a completely different topic ... except that they are economically very efficient and hard to replace by underground lines, too.

And then there's the "Law of Small Numbers" ... it's very hard to determine the actual risk posed to Bearded Vultures by power lines if a single individual gets killed in a power line accident, even if the exact circumstances were clear.

So as much as I regret the accidental death of a rare bird which could have contributed so much to the re-establishment of its species in the wild, I see neither a way nor a need to reach any far-ranging conclusions.

I'm sure the releasing team will have re-considered their procedures and standards, and thought of what they can do to avoid a re-occurrence of this unfortunate accident.


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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 13:09   #5
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The article is certainly contradictory over whether collision or electrocution was to blame, but from the photograph it looks like it was killed between poles, and therefore cause of death most likely collision.

I remember attending a talk by some Spanish researchers some time ago, on the subject of dangerous design of poles. At the time (1999) a lot of the Spanish designs posed a significant risk to large birds such as raptors and storks - not sure if this has been changed yet? I seem to recall measures like having dropped rather than upright insulators could significantly reduce risk.

In UK most local distribution lines are 11kV, which are OK to put underground, although I think most are above ground in rural areas (the sort you see on twin poles). I think from the picture it is the French equivalent of this class of line that the vulture collided with.

Where we differ in UK from countries like Japan and (I think) USA is that the domestic distribution network (230v in UK) is mostly underground in urban areas and newer developments. In contrast Japanese streets are festooned with wires. This has implications for species like Blakiston's fish-owl in Japan, where I understand powerline collisions are a significant mortality factor.
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