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Duke Energy Florida modifying power transmission lines to protect birds

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Duke Energy Florida Inc. hopes to make its power lines friendlier to birds.

The company is undertaking a pilot program featuring redesigned electric transmission lines deemed less likely to zap our fine feathered friends into oblivion.

That will entail replacing horizontal lines with vertical or stacked models, and replacing some poles to achieve better spacing. “The redesigned elements will help prevent birds from getting in between lines and from perching and building nests on electrical lines and poles,” Duke said in a press release.

The company said the changes would strengthen its grid and boost reliability, and are among $500 million in upgrades intended to protect wildlife.

Duke has already built about 50 miles of bird-friendly power lines in Polk County. The new initiative involves retrofitting lines constructed before 2011 and ones posing particular risks, like those near fish farms.

The program will follow guidelines laid down by the Avian Powerline Interaction Committee, comprising 50 electric utilities plus conservation organizations, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The American Eagle Foundation has a nice rundown on the problem here.

“Duke Energy has made a visible difference in avian protection on distribution systems through retrofitting and has been a key partner in enabling local Audubon chapters to make a difference, too,” said Barbara Walker, an Audubon Florida Gulf Coast Region board member.

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