CEA Proposes Underground Transmission Lines for Endangered Bird Area
Transmission lines of up to 33 kV must be undergrounded
February 3, 2023
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has proposed that power transmission lines of up to 33 kV voltage level passing through the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) area should be underground lines.
Power transmission lines of above 33 kV voltage level passing through the GIB area should be overhead lines installed with bird flight diverters, according to the draft ‘Construction of Electric Lines in the GIB Area Regulations, 2023.’
The regulations will apply to generating companies, transmission licensees, distribution licensees, central transmission utility, and state transmission utilities that own or operate or maintains electric lines in the GIB area.
Stakeholders can submit their suggestions by March 3, 2023.
Last December, the Supreme Court noted that the installation of bird diverters in the habitat of the endangered GIB, as proposed by the special committee appointed by it, was not yet complete and ordered Rajasthan and Gujarat to assess the total length of overhead transmission lines in the region.
The proposed regulations state that with respect to the overhead lines with single conductor per phase passing through the GIB area, bird diverters should be placed on each phase conductor, earthwire, and optical ground wire.
Further, with respect to overhead lines with bundled conductors having two or more conductors per phase, bird flight diverters should be placed on each earth wire and optical ground wire.
Bird flight diverters should be placed at an interval of 10 meters in the central 80% span of the overhead line.
The technical specifications for bird flight diverters will be issued by CEA separately.
The Supreme Court is hearing a public interest litigation seeking to protect the endangered bird species since 2019 from the power transmission lines being laid for solar projects.
Last April, the top court had directed Gujarat and Rajasthan to install diverters in the GIB habitat and underground the overhead cables wherever feasible.
Later, the special committee constituted by the court had specified the technical standards for bird flight diverters to be installed.